A few months ago, I wrote about Proposition 60, passed in 1988, which allows Seniors (55 and over) to transfer their property taxes to a new home of equal or less value. This was a great tax relief for many seniors, giving them the option to downsize, without the burden of a huge increase in their property tax bill. But the law has limitations. For one thing, only ten counties in the state participate in the program. For another, seniors are only allowed to use this benefit once in their lifetime. This means that if a married couple transfers their taxes, and then one spouse dies, the surviving spouse cannot downsize again without paying a tax penalty.

Proposition 5 fixes these problems. Known as the Property Tax Fairness Initiative, Proposition 5 would allow seniors the flexibility to move anywhere in the state, regardless of whether they have already transferred their property taxes before. In addition, it would allow seniors to purchase a home of a higher value, with an increase in the property tax only on the increase in property value. This would allow a senior from a less-expensive part of the state to move closer to grandchildren, even if they live in an expensive area such as ours.

Another important ballot measure to be aware of is Proposition 10. Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins State Housing Act, a statute that limits the use of rent control in California. On the surface, Prop 10 sounds like a great idea. With rents at an all-time high, the idea of limiting what landlords can charge for rent would seem to make housing more affordable. The reality is that Prop 10 will discourage homeowners from accepting long-term renters in favor of the more lucrative vacation rentals. It will also reduce home values by an estimated 10% and severely limit what homeowners can do with their homes. Perhaps most significantly, this bill is opposed by both gubernatorial candidates, making it a bipartisan agreement that this is a bad idea for our state.

I encourage all residents of Poway to vote on November 6, but be informed on all the candidates and propositions. These are just two of the many that will be on the ballot.

I hope you will Vote YES on 5, and NO on 10.

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