OPINION: Prop 19 could save senior lives

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For The Hub, By George Mozingo
CalSAL Board Member

If living through a global pandemic has made one reality clear, it is that seniors are at risk.  Roughly 74% of the deaths in California were 65 or older. That’s a disheartening figure as so many seniors in our state are already dealing with existing health and mental conditions that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. COVID-19 has quickly exposed the reality that many homes are not safe or accessible for seniors without proper assistance. Thus, being at home with no or limited familial contact is not ideal for the health and well-being of many aging citizens.

The pandemic has also caused immense destruction of our economy and distress on our health care systems. These added stressors, as well as the nature of the virus, has given seniors across the state, and the country, a new and unique perspective on what’s really important in life. For many that means being closer to family or medical care, and for others it may be downsizing to a home that better accommodates their physical limitations.

As a Board Member of the California Senior Advocates League (CalSAL), I know first-hand the challenges associated with aging. We represent many people who are at a time in their lives where they are transitioning to living spaces that are more accessible and adaptable to aging lifestyles. Many of them purchased homes for their families decades ago are now reaping the benefits of a paid off mortgage and a low property tax rate. The idea of purchasing a new home seems almost impossible when they will be saddled with a much higher property tax rate as most live on a fixed income. This has forced many seniors to stay in homes that have too many stairs, are too big and are too far away from their families. Thus, they are trapped in these homes.

This is why we are supporting Proposition 19 which is on the November ballot. It would offer housing relief by limiting property taxes for seniors. Proposition 19 would allow seniors to take their property tax base to a new home that better fits their needs to anywhere in the state. It would create a more level playing field and remove unfair, ever-changing location restrictions.

In addition, Prop 19 will close a tax loophole that has been exploited for decades by out-of-state residents and celebrities who are not paying their fair share in taxes. This has cost our local communities billions of dollars. By closing this loophole, our communities will have annual new funding that can help with today’s budget deficits but also can be used for programs and services such as housing and health care programs.

Prop 19 is one measure that will help seniors and vulnerable communities by limiting their property taxes while at the same time generate new annual funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used to benefit all of us especially now more than ever.

We are proud to support Prop 19.  At CalSAL, we work to promote policies that protect the health and well-being of California’s mature population and that’s why we chose to support Proposition 19. Join us by voting yes on November 3rd.

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