Conway Collis Halts Campaign for Property Tax Increase Measure

Former State Board of Equalization Member Conway Collis and other proponents of a major property tax increase initiative announced February 25 that they have halted their campaign.

Supported by funding from the Daughters of Charity, Wall Street investor Joseph Sandberg and a number of Hollywood movers and shakers, the initiative sought to impose a new property tax on most residential and business properties valued at $3 million or more.

The official explanation for dropping the measure, delivered to The Sacramento Bee by Mr. Collis, was that “the 2016 ballot has become crowded with too many revenue raising measures on it.”

However, observers noted that no tax increase initiative has qualified yet for the November ballot, and that Mr. Collis’ effort was filed months ahead of other tax measures, and therefore had a jump on the signature-gathering process.

Mr. Collis added that “it makes more sense to qualify early for a later ballot.” In the meantime, he said, proponents will work to “see if there are any modifications to our approach that should be made before it is refiled.”

Campaign strategist Bill Carrick, who helped the effort, echoed some of Mr. Collis’ explanation and additionally told The Sacramento Business Journal that supporters of the measure determined that gathering the needed 585,407 signatures to qualify for the ballot posed too great a challenge.

CalTax was a leader in the coalition opposing the measure, in conjunction with Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, which is co-chaired by CalTax President Teresa Casazza.

“This is an attack on Proposition 13,” President Casazza said. “The latest proposal in an ongoing effort to scrap Proposition 13 entirely.”

California’s legislative analyst estimated that the tax increase initiative (15-0043) would have cost property owners $6 billion to $7 billion per year.

“This is an inappropriate use of property taxes and would have a significant negative impact on California’s economy,” President Casazza said.

February 26, 2016

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