A major revamp of California's third rail has been in the cards for years - it's always been a matter of when the politics would be most favorable. And now might be the time, what with a Democratic governor and a Democratic super-majority in the legislature. Brown, however, probably doesn't want to push for too much. In case you forgot (it was almost 35 years ago), Prop 13 slashed property taxes and required a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes. It was one of those watershed moments that changed so much about the way California is run. From the Economist:
A full-throated assault on Prop 13, whose basic precepts remain popular, is unlikely. But two provisions may come under attack. First, the two-thirds voter approval requirement for the passage of "parcel taxes"--essentially measures designed to work around the constraints of Prop 13 at local level, including school districts. Some, including Darrell Steinberg, president pro tempore of the state Senate, want to reduce that to 55%. Second is Prop 13's failure to distinguish between residential and commercial properties. At the moment all property values (and hence tax bills) are reassessed only when ownership is transferred. Many favour a "split roll": annual reassessment of commercial property value, which in a rising market would mean higher revenues.