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SACRAMENTO-California’s voters said overwhelmingly Tuesday that buildings should not be reassessed for tax purposes after they are retrofitted for earthquake safety, marking a victory for property owners and the commercial real estate industry. Nearly 85% of the state’s voters supported a measure called Proposition 13, which provides that construction to seismically retrofit buildings will not trigger reassessment of property tax value. With 100% of the state’s precincts reporting, the measure won more than 3.2 million votes, compared with just under 589,000 opposing it.

Ballot materials describing the measure said that its fiscal impact would be a “minor reduction in local property tax revenues related to the assessment of earthquake upgrades,” but the proposition was of more than passing interest to building owners―both private and public―in a state where requirements to retrofit buildings for earthquake safety can sometimes impose onerous costs on owners who are ill-equipped to pay. Business and real estate organizations urged their members to support Proposition 13, taking official positions like that of the Southern California chapter of NAIOP, which advised its members to support the measure.

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