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Nordlinger Challenge to California's Proposition 13

California's Proposition 13 (1978) drastically reduced property taxes and used the purchase price - not the current assessed market value - as the assessment base. Thus, in a period of rising real estate prices, properties purchased more recently pay higher taxes than properties purchased in the past. The proposition was initially unsuccessfully challenged at the California Supreme Court. It was challenged - also unsuccessfully - much later in 1992 at the U.S. Supreme Court. The challenge was based on the unequal assessments of otherwise equivalent properties. Note that the economic issues are more complex than the legal issues since the expected future cost of property taxes is reflected in the purchase price.
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