Political Masochism

I was accosted near my university’s bookstore yesterday by a man who wanted me to sign a petition. Granted, I live, work, and study in a county that is so liberal it makes my USMC retired grandparents roll over in their graves, but this petition was going a little far.

Apparently, the petition was to put a measure on the California ballot to require that all non-residential property be re-assessed every calendar year. The motivation is, apparently, that many commercial properties will go unassessed for decades at a time, making the owner’s property taxes significantly less than they would be otherwise. The creators of this petition, in typical far-left anti-business style, want to make it so that all commercial property is reassessed and taxed at the proper rate, every single year. This is incredibly problematic.

This will create an additional expense for every company that owns property, linearly related to the number of properties that the company owns. This will not be significant to large companies, the cost of an assessment is quite small compared to the value of the property. But for a small business that happens to own the property where it is established, this is horrific. This will create a sharpening of the already established trend towards land ownership being a privilege available to a select few, with everyone else economically precluded. It will have a stifling effect on any small, developing business, and those are precisely the businesses from which the additional tax revenue will not be significant.

I have some left-leaning tendencies of my own, but irrational attacks against the machine like this do much more damage than they’re worth.