Los Angeles News
Westfield Mall Targeted By Tax Activists
By Alex Mazariegos
Aug 7, 2013 - 3:22:11 PM

Photo taken outside of Westfield Century City location.

LOS ANGELES—Activists composed of various unions and organizations rallied at the Century City Westfield Mall on August 1 as an indirect protest against Proposition 13 by targeting Westfield Group, which they claim underpays in taxes.


Organizations including ReFund LA Coalition, California Calls and Service Employees International Union Local 721 aspire to illuminate what they see as an unequal tax policy imposed upon homeowners that benefit commercial property owners, and now they call upon commercial owners such as Westfield Group to pay more property taxes.


California Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978 by voter approval. The initiative not only decreased property taxes, but also restricted increases to a property's assessed value on an annual basis, and it was seen as a necessary safety net for homeowners at risk.


Some vocal critics argue that the proposition results “in unequal and uncompetitive tax advantages for many at the expense of homeowners and other businesses who pay their fair share,” as stated on California Calls' website.


The organization goes on to say that homeowners are paying a larger percentage of property taxes, which are then used to fund schools, roads and city services, compared to most large businesses. California Calls claims that commercial land in most counties is undervalued, leading to a lower property tax for larger corporations.


SEIU 721 cited studies that state the Westfield Group is “underpaying” taxes by $41 million. “That's money that should go to fund public schools, playgrounds, fire and police protection, and other local services,” wrote the organization on their website. “ Los Angeles County must constantly struggle to do more with limited resources. The County is understaffed and lacks enough resources to provide quality services for all citizens. If Westfield paid its fair share of taxes, LA County could hire more nurses, build more libraries and provide students with proper materials.”


On June 5, the California Taxpayers Association released a report on Prop 13 with data that asserts no shift in property tax burden from businesses to homeowners. According to the report, which compiled data from the State Board of Equalization, homeowners “remain the largest beneficiaries of Proposition 13’s property tax assessment protections.” Moreover, the association said that the property tax continues to provide incremental revenue to fund government services.

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