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DSteinbergJPG.JPGThose worried that legislative Democrats will use their supermajority power to make changes to Proposition 13 can breathe a sigh of relief -- for now, at least.

Some Democrats, emboldened by a two-thirds control that allows them to approve taxes or put measures on the ballot without GOP votes, have introduced legislation this year targeting different aspects of the landmark tax changes approved by voters in 1978.

But Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters today that 2013 is not the time to tinker with Proposition 13, which is often referred to as the "third rail" of California politics because of the perceived political risk of changing the law.

The Sacramento Democrat said lawmakers should instead make 2013 "a year of producing in a whole host of areas unrelated to taxes," including tightening gun control laws, working to implement the state insurance marketplace created by the federal health care law and passing major education policy changes.

Steinberg said, however, that he is open to some of the proposed changes down the road, including proposals that would change vote requirements for local tax measures. Even if the Legislature acted this year, any constitutional amendments approved by the Legislature wouldn't be able to go to the voters until 2014.

"The question of lowering voter thresholds for the specific taxes on the local level, which is really the beginning of that conversation ... definitely should be had and probably will be had at some point in this two-year session," Steinberg said. "But let's have 2013 be a year where we are focused on bread and butter."

Click here to read a list of related bills that have been introduced in the current legislative session.

PHOTO CREDIT: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, during the first day of session at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.



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