Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

By Jon Coupal – June 6, 2024


On June 6, 1978, California voters went to the polls and changed history.

Proposition 13 was approved by nearly two-thirds of the electorate and quickly put a stop to skyrocketing property taxes that were rising annually with inflation. Before Prop. 13, property in California was assessed at full market value and there was no cap on the tax rate.

Californians had to pay an average tax rate of 2.67% of the current market value of their home or business property, every year, as a condition of keeping it. Many people couldn’t afford to keep their own property, even if they owned it free and clear. (Check our Guessing Game calculator to see what you’d be paying in property taxes today if Prop. 13 had never passed.)

Prop. 13 cut the tax rate to 1%, reducing taxes immediately, and it capped the annual increase in the assessed value at 2%. So even if inflation drove the market value of property up by 10%, 15% or even 20%, the assessed value of property could not rise more than 2% per year for as long as it was under the same ownership. 

At the same time that Prop. 13 protected Californians from being taxed out of their property, this historic initiative also protected local governments from wild fluctuations in tax revenue. The value of the assessment roll climbed steadily, year after year, as properties were reassessed when the ownership changed or the properties were significantly improved. Today, the assessed value of property in Los Angeles County is on track to exceed $2 trillion for the first time ever.

Proposition 13 contained other taxpayer protections, too. It required a two-thirds vote in each house of the state legislature to pass new or higher taxes. It required voter approval of local taxes. It banned certain other taxes to ensure that governments would not be able to get around Prop. 13’s protections by charging property owners new taxes based on the value of their property.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association was founded in 1978 to protect Proposition 13 from unrelenting attacks by politicians and special interests seeking ways to take more and more of your money. We are proud to continue this fight for California taxpayers every day.

If you’re not already a member of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, June 6 is a perfect day to become one. Go to and click “Join.” Welcome!

You can support the work of this great organization by donating to HJTA or to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation (donations to the Foundation may be tax-deductible). For more information on how to protect Proposition 13, visit our website at or click here to “Take Action.”

Congratulations to all California taxpayers on the 46th anniversary of Proposition 13. California led a nationwide tax revolt in 1978 and we are proud to continue that work today.

With gratitude,

Jon Coupal is President of HJTA 

P.S. Join us every Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. for the Howard Jarvis Radio Show, live on both 790 KABC in Southern California and 560 KSFO in Northern California, and streaming live everywhere on and


  1. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was living in Topanga (renting) and all of my neighbors were supporting the proposition.

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