Howard Jarvis

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June 19, 1978 cover of Time magazine after the vote on Prop 13
Howard Jarvis (September 22, 1903 - August 11, 1986) co-sponsored Proposition 13 in 1978 with Paul Gann, which both ignited and was ignited by anti-high-tax sentiment in California and slashed the state's property taxes by 57%.

The evening of the day that Proposition 13 was approved by California voters, Jarvis said, ""Now we know how it felt when they dumped English tea in Boston harbor!", and "We have a new revolution. We are telling the government, 'Screw you!'"[1]

Jarvis went on to found the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.


Jarvis ran for public office, unsuccessfully, at least four times.

  • He sought a seat in the Utah State Legislature.
  • He sought the Republican nomination in 1962 for U.S. Senate in California.
  • He ran in 1972 for the California Board of Equalization.
  • He ran in 1977 in the Los Angeles mayoral primary.[1]


Jarvis was born in Magna, Utah and died in Los Angeles, California. His father, John Ransome Jarvis, was a Utah Supreme Court judge and, unlike Jarvis, a member of the Democratic Party. Jarvis graduated from Utah State University and went on to be active in the Republican Party in Utah before moving to California. While in Utah, Jarvis purchased the Magna Times, a weekly newspaper, for $15,000 with a bank loan. By the time he turned 30, Jarvis owned 11 weekly newspapers.

Although raised Mormon, he smoked cigars and drank vodka as an adult. He moved to California in the 1930s due to a suggestion by Earl Warren.[1]


In 1980 he had a cameo in the movie Airplane!, playing an incredibly patient taxi passenger whose metered fare in an unattended taxi rises to over $100. This was an "inside joke" that people outside California were probably unaware of, since Jarvis, the champion of fiscal responsibility, spent the entire movie sitting in an empty cab, with the meter running, waiting for the driver to return.

External links


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Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia's article on Howard Jarvis on July 19, 2007.