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He’s From Omaha. He Really is Here to Help.

Aug
15
2003

As expected, Warren Buffett has told the Wall Street Journal that he thinks Prop. 13 is unfair. He bases this among other things, on the $12,000 difference he pays in property taxes in California and Nebraska. The lower bill, about $2,300, is for his Laguna Beach property.
California Insider Dan Weintraub offers up the usual political bromides saying that yes, maybe, it’s time Prop 13 were amended. But, as is often the case when political reporters talk to businessmen, he misses the point. More and more, Total Recall is not about politics; Total Recall is about reforming politics as it’s currently practiced in California and elsewhere.
As part of that strategy, Buffett’s job is to suggest, as only he can, that California’s tax structure is broken and needs fixing. He’s not speaking to the average homeowner, but to the state’s business community. He’s calling on their sense of fairness as only he, a self-made billionaire who wants to pay higher taxes, can. Besides, to address Weintraub’s worries, once you have agreement on tax reform, it’s not that hard to legislate protections for low-income and elderly homeowners. Florida, for example, does it with a ‘homestead’ exemption that protects your primary residence but not your million dollar beach house or the office park down the street.
There’s something else going on here: Schwarzenegger has positioned himself as the anti-politician but, so far, he’s demonstrated some pretty shrewd and sophisticated maneuvering. It’s leaving most of the state’s political know-it-alls scratching their heads.

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