EDITOR: Steven Gray ("Tax equity," Nov. 8) wrote that our real estate tax system under Proposition 13 is fair because it is based on a property's actual sale price. However, this method is more a measure of the volatility of the market than a rational system. For example, my neighbor's tax bill is about double mine, even though our houses are very similar. Sadly, he purchased his home at the peak of the market; I bought mine 10 years earlier.
Moreover, under Proposition 13, an ever greater proportion of the tax burden has been shifting from commercial property owners onto individual homeowners because commercial properties change hands far less often than single-family homes do. Thus, a much greater portion of commercial property is still taxed at relatively low 1976 values.
Thirty-four years have passed since the passage of Proposition 13. The tax burden is shifting to the individual, while financial support for schools and other activities funded by real estate taxes continue to weaken. It's time to look closely at the actual consequences of Proposition 13 and consider major revisions so that in the future we can accurately call our real estate tax system "fair."