Against Proposition 13: Bill And Nancy Bamberger
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March 1, 2010 – Bill and Nancy Bamberger tell KPBS reporter Joanne Faryon why they voted against Proposition 13 in 1978.
Related story: Against Proposition 13: Bill And Nancy Bamberger
BILL BAMBERGER: I'm Bill Bamberger. NANCY BAMBERGER: I'm Nancy Bamberger, married to Bill Bamberger. JOANNE FARYON: And how long have you been married? BILL: We've been married for 43 years. NANCY: 44 in September. FARYON: And when did you buy this house? BILL: 1971. It was actually a Mother's Day present. NANCY: I insisted. FARYON: Do you remember how much you paid? BILL: We paid $29,500. FARYON: How did you vote for Prop 13? BILL: Well we voted against it and we actually walked precincts to hand out leaflets in opposition to Prop 13. NANCY: I was pretty frightened about education for my daughter who was in the first and second grade. So, it was maybe a self-interest in a strange way because we believe in public schools and we wanted that to work. And we knew the impact and the fact that the local would have no more money or decision making in what to do with the local public schools. BILL: The other thing that I was really concerned about was that prior to Prop 13 every local government - the school districts, the city, and the county - set their own taxes and had control over their own budgets. But Prop 13 shifted all that control to the state, and I was really concerned about that because I liked the idea of having local governments provide our services because you could talk to your representative, you could go to city council meetings, but you hardly ever go to Sacramento. FARYON: What's your property tax bill today? Bill: We did some remodeling so we were reassessed and our property tax bill today is about, well, in 2009 it was about $1,300. Well, if I was paying 1% of our assessed value, of our true value of the house it would probably be about $7,000. FARYON: You're willing to pay more in taxes. You'd be the couple to say, you know, I'd pay more. NANCY: Oh, of course. BILL: Well, I don't like paying taxes anymore than anybody else does. And you know, we live on a budget but I believe in fairness. And I don't think the current system is fair. I don't think it's fair that ah, my daughter has a house down the street. It's worth less than this one. And she pays about four times as much as we do in property taxes. That just doesn't seem right. We need more revenue. And that means we all have to be realistic. And if we want the services, we're going to have to pay for them. There is no free lunch.