Richard Rider

Richard Rider
San Diego, California, USA
August 24
San Diego Tax Fighters
Biography of Richard Rider (Updated July, 2011) San Diego, CA 92131 E-mail: * AGE: 66 * EDUCATION: B.A. Economics, University of North Carolina, 1968 * MILITARY SERVICE: Commander, Supply Corps, U. S. Naval Reserve, retired after 26 years (four years active, the rest in the reserve). ** OCCUPATION: Retired stockbroker and financial planner. Lifetime member of the International Association of Financial Planners. Former business owner. * AFFILIATION: • Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters • National Taxpayers Union • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association • San Diego County Taxpayers Association * POLITICAL ACTIVITIES: • Successfully sued the county of San Diego (Rider vs. County of San Diego) to force a rollback of an illegal 1/2-cent jails sales tax, a precedent that saved California taxpayers over fourteen billion dollars, including $3.5 billion for San Diego taxpayers. • Actively supported a variety of tax-cutting ballot initiatives including Proposition 13. Has written ballot arguments against numerous county and state tax increase initiatives. • County co-chair of both California term limit initiatives (Prop 140 and Prop 164). • Libertarian Party candidate for governor in 1994. • Candidate for the 3rd District County Supervisor in 1992 (third place among six candidates with about 20% of the vote). • 1993 – appointed to (and then elected chair of) the San Diego County Social Services Advisory Board. • 1996 – appointed as a Commissioner on the California Constitution Revision Commission by state Assembly Speaker Kurt Pringle. • Has been involved in legal actions against City of San Diego to force a public vote on issuing bonds for Qualcomm stadium expansion, convention center, baseball ballpark and other projects. • 2005 – Unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of San Diego, though his reform ideas have since taken hold. • 2007 – Columnist for NORTH COUNTY TIMES and SAN DIEGO DAILY TRANSCRIPT • 2009 - The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's "California Tax Fighter of the Year" * FAMILY: Married. Wife, Diane, is a retired public high school teacher. Two sons, ages 32 and 27.

SEPTEMBER 4, 2010 9:23PM

A defense of Prop. 13 property tax revenues

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This op-ed column currently is being published  in several California newspapers, and as a result is being distributed statewide by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
A defense of Prop. 13 property tax revenues
Thursday, September 2, 2010

 When it comes to gathering sufficient property taxes, Prop. 13 is no problem at all -- except for profligate spenders. Look at the history of our San Diego County -- a history that pretty much reflects the history of property taxes in the urban/suburban counties that hold over 90 percent of California's population.

According to the San Diego County Tax Assessor, in 1977 -- the year before Prop. 13 took effect -- our countywide property tax revenue was about $639 million. For this past June 30 concluding the 2009-10 fiscal year, our county assessor reports revenues of $4.596 billion. For every property tax dollar collected in 1977, the county this last year collected $7.20.

During that time frame, our county population has grown about 85 percent, and inflation has gone up about 260 percent. Hence property tax revenues today are substantially higher than the bloated pre-Prop. 13 year, even after adjusting for inflation and population growth.

According to the Tax Foundation, for 2008, California was ranked 14th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) -- the only major tax where we are not ranked in the worst 10 states. But CA property taxes per home were the 10th highest in the nation that year.

(To see how California ranks against the other states on various taxes and other economic factors, go to: and read the latest updated version of my fact sheet, "Breaking Bad -- CA vs. the other states.")

But there's another advantage of Prop. 13 that few understand.

It turns out that, under Prop. 13, property tax revenue is far more stable than our other forms of tax revenue. Income tax revenue is plunging, and sales tax collections are dropping.

But property tax revenue seldom goes down at all. Since the year Prop. 13 passed, San Diego County property tax revenue has always gone up -- every year -- until this 2009-10 fiscal year.

The San Diego County assessor reports that real estate property tax revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 is down -- but only 1.0 percent. This tiny drop comes in the fourth year of California's real estate meltdown. The year before, real estate property tax revenue was actually up 4.1 percent.

Revenue is up because Prop. 13 has the little-known added benefit of smoothing out real estate property tax revenue from year to year. Most properties this year (generally those purchased prior to 2003) had their property tax go up 2 percent. Add to that the resales, property improvements and new structures (which establish new tax assessment levels), and the revenue stayed rather constant in the teeth of our economic downturn.

Consider what happens without Prop. 13 protection: In the real estate boom years from 1998 through 2005, property taxes would have soared. (Even with the Prop. 13 limitations, San Diego County property tax revenue collection during this period still rose 111 percent.) But then in the last four years, without Prop. 13 our dropping property values would have caused a dramatic plummet in property tax revenues -- revenues that governments would now be hooked on -- just like we see with our volatile sales taxes, and especially with our erratic income tax revenues.

Whatever problems you might think Prop. 13 causes, insufficient property tax revenues is not one of them.

Rider is chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters.

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