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By Joe Mathews
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Extra info for California crackup: how reform broke the Golden State and how we can fix it
They did not earn their tickets to reelection or promotion by rapidly raising assessments on voters. They had heard the thousands of working- and middle-class families in the late 1950s and early 1960s who held protest meetings and trooped off to berate their elected ofﬁcials for rising property taxes. The assessors couldn’t provide full relief, but they had leaned against the wind, letting business assessments rise while holding back on full increases for homeowners. 38 / Building and Breaking California Before AB 80 passed, homeowners in San Francisco were paying taxes on 9 percent of market value and commercial property owners were paying on 35 percent of market value.
He came out of his ofﬁce, surrounded by reporters, it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and he was going to campaign vigorously for it. And the governor meant it. ” Prop 8 offered homeowners only half as much property tax reduction as Prop 13. Because of an unfocused governor and the two-thirds rule, desperate homeowners were left with little choice. 16 THE CATASTROPHE THAT WASN’T The voters who thronged to the polls to vote for Prop 13 weren’t looking to remake California. Only a small minority of them shared Jarvis and Gann’s desire to slash the size of government; most actually favored more public services (and believed they could magically have something for nothing).
In a majority-vote system, the Democrats would have been accountable for the state’s budget problems. S. House of Representatives in 1994. But in a two-thirds system, no one could fairly say that a budget belonged to one party or the other. Both parties had their names on the birth certiﬁcate. And so Republicans couldn’t gain politically by rallying against the budget status quo. Instead, they clung to the two-thirds system for the leverage it provided. In this way, the minority party had Empowering and Shackling Sacramento / 49 a “Stockholm syndrome” relationship with the supermajority requirement; they loved what kept them in political prison.