Back in 1978, the clowns were running the circus, and local, county, and state government found property taxation as a way to solve any financial problems. The situation had become so unbearable that the people of the state revolted, passing an amendment to the State of California Constitution to stop the chaos. Known as Proposition 13, or formally as the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, the initiative capped property taxes at 1% of 1975 assessed values, while also limiting the annual growth of property taxes.
How bad was property taxation in 1978? I had purchased a new home in 1972 and the first year’s taxes were $300. The following year the property taxes jumped to $600, followed by an increase to $1200 in 1974 and $1600 in 1975. At the time I was making about $1400 a month, and $1600 a year in property taxes was hitting me and others right in the pocket book.
Before the election, every city, county, and even the state government claimed the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation would destroy the state financially. The voters didn’t buy the rhetoric and overwhelmingly passed the initiative. The amendment was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme court and guess what? The cities, counties, and state government didn’t fail nor go bankrupt and additional sources of revenue were found to supplement the decrease in property taxes.
So when California Senate Bill 761 was proposed, the big Internet players from Silicon Valley drew their swords and hollered foul. How dare anyone even suggest that regulating the Internet with a ‘Do Not Track’ bill could actually help consumers? Companies such as Google, Facebook, and some 60 others claim that any such action could cause a strangulation of Internet commerce.
Which makes one wonder. How do television and radio stations make money selling advertisements without keeping track of every movement we make? When do we as a society try to curb the amount of information that is being collected, analyzed, and shared between who knows who? Even if California fails to pass a ‘Do Not Track’ bill, how long before the feds pass such a bill for all of the states?
On the flip side there is this thought. Since Google and Facebook offer their services for free, and since we do not have to use either service, we already have the option to ‘opt out’ without the need for any legislation.
What do you think?