After California became a U.S. state in 1850, land taxation was one of the factors that bankrupted the Californio ranchers. Apparently, it had not existed in the native, Spanish, nor Mexican periods.

When were property taxes first assessed in California and what was the rate? Did each county or municipality introduce their own tax policy?

1 Answer 1


Judson A. Grenier's "Officialdom": California State Government, 1849-1879 describes the laws passed in California's first Legislature of 1850. Each county would have its own assessor, and property tax was set at "50 cents on each $100 worth of taxable property", or 0.5% per annum.

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