PROPOSITION 13 on the June 8 ballot is a technical, but important correction to assessments of properties that are retrofitted to make them more resistant to earthquakes.
Currently, properties generally are reassessed for tax purposes if major improvements are made. There are a few exceptions, including two that pertain to seismic retrofitting.
One exception excludes earthquake safety upgrades that are required by local laws on "unreinforced masonry buildings," such as those made of brick or concrete blocks. Reassessments on these buildings are excluded for just 15 years.
The second exception excludes from reassessment other seismic safety modifications to any type of building and has no time limit. Both exclusions apply until the property is sold.
Prop. 13 replaces the above two exclusions with a single exclusion for all earthquake safety upgrades and would apply until a property is sold, eliminating the 15-year limit on unreinforced masonry buildings.
The assessment exclusion would eliminate the unfairness of the current assessment exclusions and remove a barrier for those who wish to make their properties less prone to earthquake damage.
There is no organized opposition to Prop. 13, which deserves a yes vote on June 8.