Property taxes, properly structured, could be an incredibly powerful tool for driving smart growth, "new urbanist" human-friendly communities, preservation of habitats, and so on. Property taxes as currently structured are a) incredibly unfair, b) create a substantial "tax on moving", and c) favor sprawl over dense "urban village" development. And yet, there were some pretty big problems with the system we had before, which drove the epochal Proposition 13 reform, which gave us the system we have today.
Want to learn more about this important issue? On April 10th, the Peninsula Democratic Coalition, San Mateo and Silicon Valley Chapters of Democracy for America, and the Palo Alto Branch of the American Association of University Women, are all co-hosting a panel discussion and Q/A session with four of our state's top experts on this issue -- an event that is the fruition of an idea I had early last year, and did a fair bit of work to organize.
Assemblyman John Laird, Chair of the Committee on Budget
Lenny Goldberg, Executive Director of California Tax Reform Association
Larry Stone, Assessor of Santa Clara County
Moderated by Joseph Bankman, Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business at Stanford Law School
When: Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7 p.m. (with light refreshments provided at 6:30 p.m.)
Where: Mountain View City Council Chambers, Mountain View City Hall (500 Castro Street)
Convenient parking is available free of charge in the Mountain View Civic Center garage located directly under the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. The entrance to the garage is on Mercy Street. The "City Hall" elevator in the garage goes directly to the outer lobby of the Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall. For those taking public transit, the 22 and 522 stop a couple blocks west at El Camino and Castro, and dozens of different buses, not to mention the CalTrain and VTA light rail, come through the downtown MtV CalTrain depot, which is about five blocks east of City Hall.
Come learn about abstract legal concepts, and why they have a major impact on the kind of town you live in! It'll be fun, and it'll make you a more informed voter when, some time in the next decade, we finally get a proposition on the ballot to reform our screwed-up property tax system.