Blast from the Past

Predictions About Possible Uses of Land Led to Property Tax Hikes Prior to Proposition 13

Foster City in San Mateo County

“No tax cuts are likely for North Coast landowners, a county board has decided in one of the key tax decisions of 1971. … The appeals board’s pending decision backs Assessor John Seidlinger down the line. All but two of the findings say the high land values are justified on the basis of ‘investment holdings for future development.’ The two exceptions are some lands belonging to Big Creek Timber Company and the Purdy Ranch. But the assessor’s valuations were justified on the basis of a ‘future recreational use’ ….”

— Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 11, 1971. After voters approved Proposition 13 in 1978, property taxes no longer increased based on estimates of how the property could or would be used in the future.