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1,230 Grassroots Leaders Rally Behind Schools & Communities First

Momentum for closing corporate property tax loopholes to invest in schools and local communities continues gaining steam


This week, the Schools & Communities First campaign hosted two virtual town halls for activists throughout the state – one in Spanish and one in English – headlined by leading California grassroots voices. The turnout was remarkable: 1,230 grassroots activists took part, recognizing the months of work that went into collecting a record number of signatures to qualify for the ballot and pledging to take action through November to pass this historic initiative.


Here are some of the top takeaways from those who headlined the events:


Dolores Huerta “I’ve been thinking about Schools & Communities First, and I thought, ‘You know what? We are getting here just in time.’ We are the antidote they were waiting for. When we’re seeing everything that’s going on right now, we see how the pandemic has actually affected our schools, they’re threatening to cut school funding all over the state of California. And then here we are with our Schools & Communities First campaign to bring money into our school system. With all of the years of preparation, all of the time of gathering signatures – it was meant for this exact time.”


Lian Cheun of Khmer Girls in Action “Now is the time to address the historic underfunding of low-income communities of color. Schools & Communities First is a critical step to invest in our future by reclaiming $12 billion – I mean $12 billion, that is just such a huge number – from the wealthiest corporations. The structural injustices that we face must have structural changes.”


Karen Liceaga of Resilience OC “We will reclaim $12 billion for our schools and communities, and we must reinvest to rebuild, we can’t go back to normal – there is no going back. The future is ours, and it’s time for large corporations to pay their fair share, and for California to finally invest in our students and communities.”


Fatima Maciel of SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network) “Como estudiante Escuelas y Comunidades Primero es muy importante para mi y los jóvenes porque nuestro futuro está en juego. Ahorita hay mucho miedo sobre nuestra educación y el trabajo porque son inciertas. Es hora de invertir en nuestro futuro y el futuro colectivo de nuestro estado. Todos merecemos prosperar dentro de nuestras escuelas y comunidades pero durante generaciones las escuelas y comunidades que son mayoría personas de color han carecido severamente de fondos. Las corporaciones han evitado pagar su parte justa de impuestos durante décadas y ha sido a la expensa de estudiantes y personas de color como yo.”


There’s no question as to who has the momentum in this fight to close corporate property tax loopholes so we can invest in our schools and local communities, and this momentum will keep gaining steam through November.


Schools & Communities First, which just qualified for the November ballot after submitting a record 1.7 million signatures of support, will reclaim $12 billion every year for essential workers, critical local services, and schools by closing corporate property tax loopholes – all while protecting homeowners and renters, small businesses, and agriculture. Additionally, the initiative provides substantial tax relief for small businesses by cutting the business personal property tax.


According to a recent analysis, 92% of the revenue would be generated by only 10% of commercial and industrial properties, illustrating the fact that only a fraction of top corporations benefit from these tax loopholes. In addition to PPIC polling showing a 7 point increase in support for the measure over the past six months, polling of the ballot language that voters will see in November showed 58% support from likely California voters.

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Paid for by Yes on 15 - Schools and Communities First sponsored by a Coalition of Labor Groups and Social Justice Organizations Representing Families, Students and Essential Workers.

Committee major funding from:

California Teachers Association

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy

SEIU California State Council