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Report · September 1998

Proposition 13 in Recession and Recovery

Steven M. Sheffrin and Terri Sexton

Proposition 13 has created wide disparities in property taxes between homes purchased more recently and those owned for many years.  Although the steep recession in California from 1991 through 1995 reduced some of these disparities, it also led to a crushing workload for California’s understaffed and underfunded property tax assessors’ offices.  As property taxes fell, hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses filed appeals for reassessment.  Many counties are still working through a twelve-to-eighteen month backlog of cases.  This report examines disparities in property taxes since the passage of Proposition 13 and the effects on property tax administration in California.