LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A prominent anti-tax group says it won't oppose a bill that would close a loophole in California's Proposition 13, effectively approving a bid to change the landmark law for the first time since voters passed it 36 years ago.

The proposed change to Proposition 13 would clamp down on companies avoiding higher property taxes when they buy commercial real estate by using a corporate ownership maneuver.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which crusaded for the 1978 measure that limited the tax rate for real estate, said it wouldn't use the proposal as a wedge issue in the upcoming elections, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"I think that the withdrawal of our opposition, at least for now, suggests that we don't see this as a direct threat to Prop. 13," said Jon Coupal, president of the Jarvis group.

The decision is good news for lawmakers who might otherwise hesitate to support the bill, which is backed by a surprise coalition of business interests and Democrats.

"It must be a cold day in hell. The cow jumped over the moon. And pigs are flying somewhere," quipped Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, at a committee hearing on the legislation Tuesday.

The bill, which passed the Assembly Revenue and Taxation panel Tuesday, will need two-thirds approval in the Legislature.



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