Over the past two weeks, the Yes on 15 coalition racked up a series of big wins that adds to the momentum behind closing corporate tax loopholes to reclaim $12 billion for schools and essential local services.
California Governor Gavin Newsom: “It’s a fair, phased-in and long-overdue reform to state tax policy, it’s consistent with California’s progressive fiscal values, it will exempt small businesses and residential property owners, it will fund essential services such as public schools and public safety, and, most importantly, it will be decided by a vote of the people.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “For more than 40 years, California has endured a contorted property tax system that punishes home buyers, chills housing construction and rewards businesses who skate by when assessments are set. Proposition 15 would ease the worst of these abuses while protecting homeowners and small businesses. It sets a path that should continue in overhauling an out-of-whack tax code.”
Secretary of State Alex Padilla: "Proposition 15 is a historic opportunity for voters to help make the American Dream accessible to all Californians. The many significant inequities in education, economic opportunity, health, and more that existed before the COVID-19 have only been exacerbated. Proposition 15 will generate desperately needed resources for schools and local communities and help mitigate the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing fiscal stability and long term security."
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara: "This is a choice between perpetuating a tax break for the wealthiest corporations in our state or reclaiming investments for our critical local services and schools. We're talking about billions in tax breaks that should be going to firefighting, public hospitals, students, and more. California's equitable recovery and reinvestment depends on Prop. 15 in November."
State Controller Betty T. Yee: “During this COVID-19 economic crisis, we need bold reform that will begin to stabilize our economy while also addressing these long-term challenges. Prop. 15 is an important step forward in rebuilding our economy for the future, generating up to $12 billion per year for our nation’s most overcrowded physical and virtual classrooms, and our severely under-resourced local governments in handling the COVID-19 crisis.”
California Association of Family Farmers (CAFF): “California voters will have a chance to support small farms, small businesses and local communities, while ensuring big, wealthy corporations pay more of their fair share of property taxes. Prop 15 closes a corporate tax loophole that for decades has syphoned billions of dollars desperately needed for our overcrowded schools and local communities. It’s way past time to tip the scales back towards Main Street, to our children, and to our small family farms that feed California and the world.”
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia: “We can't afford these corporate tax loopholes at the expense of our schools and local communities, especially now. Prop. 15 will close these loopholes to bring that money back locally for our most pressing needs. Instead of giving away billions every year in tax breaks, Prop. 15 will invest in schools and essential local services, like public hospitals and affordable housing.”
Save the Bay Action Fund: “In the face of growing environmental challenges, our cities and counties can’t afford corporations continuing to avoid paying their fair share.”
54% of likely California voters support Prop. 15. According to an internal poll conducted between August 30th and September 1st, 54% of likely California voters support Prop. 15.
76% of Latino voters support Prop. 15. According to a Latino Community Foundation poll conducted between August 7th and 16th, 76% of Latino voters support Prop. 15, reinforcing findings from a similar poll conducted in March.
Gov. Newsom endorsement:
Los Angeles Times: Newsom endorses November ballot measure to limit Prop. 13 property tax rules
Courthouse News: California Governor Newsom Voices Support of Property Tax Overhaul
Fox 11, News Channel 3, and News Channel 12:
Labor Day rally for Prop. 15:
Prop. 15 is an important step in rebuilding California’s economy, generating up to $12 billion a year for our schools and local governments.
Controller T. Betty Yee
I endorse Proposition 15 because it is critical to California’s long-term economic recovery strategy. As someone who grew up in a small business household and has served on the Board of Equalization and now as State Controller, I know the impacts and implementation of this measure matter.
Our state, local governments and schools are reeling from declines in tax revenue, with no assurance of sustained federal financial relief to aid our recovery. Small businesses that are the backbone of local communities and economies have been subjected to reopenings in fits and starts. Minority owners have been hit the hardest as they continue to face the traditional barriers that existed prior to the pandemic.
Widening inequality, persistent poverty and unaffordable housing have held back our state, even in prosperous times. During this COVID-19 economic crisis, we need bold reform that will begin to stabilize our economy while also addressing these long-term challenges.
Prop. 15 is an important step forward in rebuilding our economy for the future, generating up to $12 billion per year for our nation’s most overcrowded physical and virtual classrooms, and our severely under-resourced local governments in handling the COVID-19 crisis. We need to invest in our schools, community colleges, local infrastructure, affordable housing and vital local services to rebuild our economy stronger than before the pandemic.
Let’s start with small business. Prop. 15 provides a substantial tax cut to incentivize small business investment. Studies show that the most expensive 10% of properties account for 92% of Prop. 15’s added revenue. Quite simply, small businesses will get much needed relief, and small business owners can count on local governments being able to provide vital services such as regular street cleaning and maintenance, reliable transportation, and improved fire and emergency response times.
Prop. 15’s benefits can serve as an anchor for a statewide small business recovery strategy. We need to expand the capacity of Community Development Financial institutions and press for federal small business assistance by, among other things, increasing the federal Community Development Financial institutions Fund and putting teeth into the Community Reinvestment Act, to increase incentives for investing in disadvantaged communities.
California’s powerful corporate leaders and foundations need to make financial commitments to Community Development Financial institutions and fund other small business initiatives. Together with Prop. 15, these steps could make a huge difference for struggling small businesses.
I’ve also taken county assessors’ concerns about Prop. 15 seriously because I have seen firsthand how past reforms have placed burdens on assessors without providing the needed resources or support. This initiative can be successfully implemented.
First, the measure empowers the Legislature to work with assessors, the Board of Equalization, and the State Controller on implementation. Second, it provides advance funding for counties to make preparations even before revenue from the reassessments is realized. Third, it provides an implementation phase-in to allow sufficient time for assessors to build the capacity for reassessing large commercial properties.
I’ve already begun to prepare. My office is formulating plans for the workforce development needed to implement Prop. 15. We’ll aggressively expand workforce training for appraisal and auditing professionals, including remote learning to reach workers in every region of the state. We’ll recruit on our campuses to help on-board new graduates. We’ll coordinate the various state and county agencies that hire appraisers and auditors to maximize our resources for training and recruitment. We’ll need to make sure we are utilizing the latest technology for workforce training and implementation with attention focused on assisting small counties.
I know the professionals in California’s assessors’ offices can implement Prop. 15 efficiently and uniformly, ensuring big corporate properties are assessed at fair market value – like in nearly every other state. Along with meaningful small business assistance and the development of assessment professionals, Prop. 15 will not only stabilize California’s economy, but provide the necessary impetus and focus on small business recovery and job creation. Let’s lift our schools and communities by supporting Prop. 15.
Betty T. Yee is California State Controller
State’s oldest and wealthiest corporations should pay their fair share
Rev. Jethroe Moore II, president of the San Jose Silicon Valley NAACP
The global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the depth of structural racism and systemic inequalities in California again. Decades of disinvestment have burdened our communities, and people of color face the brunt of this historic hardship. We could experience the full extent of this crisis for years to come. But November, California’s registered voters can take bold action toward recovery and reinvestment with Proposition 15.
Prop 15, AKA Schools & Communities First, is a fair and balanced reform that would reclaim $12 billion every year for our schools and local communities. This overwhelming amount of money comes from closing property tax loopholes that benefit California’s oldest and wealthiest corporations, such as Chevron and McDonalds. While Prop. 15 asks these giant companies to pay their fair share, it protects homeowners, does not impact agricultural business and cuts taxes for small businesses that make less than $3 million a year — all of whom have been hit hard by COVID.
Here in the Bay Area, legacy tech companies face dramatic property tax discrepancies as a result of loopholes. Older companies such as Intel pay $0.50 per square foot, while companies with more recently purchased property such as Salesforce are paying $200 per square foot of property. Leveling the playing field is not only fair, it would bring an impressive $1.33 billion a year to Santa Clara County and an ongoing $60.5 million to San Jose.
Right now, our schools and local governments are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls. California has the most overcrowded classrooms in the United States and some of the worst ratios of counselors, librarians and nurses per student. In the shadow of centuries-long oppression and discrimination, communities of color struggle disproportionately to access public education and public services. Our current budget crisis will only make that worse.
That historic disinvestment has life and death consequences when a crisis like this hits. Black and brown people are significantly more likely to die from COVID-19. In California, Latinos makeup 60% of COVID-19 cases yet are 39% of the population. We are more likely to be essential workers on the front lines and, therefore, risk exposure to the virus. Other socioeconomic factors such as overcrowded apartments, mass incarceration and underfunded hospitals all compound our crisis. This injustice should move us toward bold action like Prop 15.
Furthermore, small businesses in communities of color are less likely to receive federal help that they need right now. We should not be balancing our budget on the backs of small-business owners, who we know will be the cornerstone of our economic recovery. Prop 15 allows us to uplift small businesses and support the livelihoods of all working families in California — especially those in communities of color.
According to a recent study, 10% of the biggest properties would generate 92% of the revenue from Prop 15, illustrating that only a fraction of the top corporations benefit from the current unfair system. Instead of giving away billions of dollars in property tax breaks to these wealthy corporations, these billions could be invested in lower class sizes, school counselors, public transit, public health and so many other services that tackle inequity. Let’s build a better future for all and give our communities the chance to get ahead. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure wealthy corporations pay their fair share.
This November, we have a chance to address a historical action with historic boldness. Let’s balance the scales. It’s time to invest in our communities, our economic recovery and a more racially just California. I urge you to join me and vote yes on Prop. 15.
Rev. Jethroe Moore II is the president of the San Jose Silicon Valley NAACP.
Ana Ponce y Maria Brenes
En este momento, algunas de las corporaciones más ricas de California se están aprovechando de un vacío legal que reduce significativamente la cantidad de impuestos a la propiedad que pagan cada año. Como resultado, nuestras escuelas y gobiernos locales están perdiendo millones de dólares que podrían destinarse a financiar mejor nuestro sistema educativo y otros servicios esenciales como nuestros bomberos.
La Propuesta 15 cerrará esta laguna y generará $12 mil millones anuales para las escuelas y nuestras comunidades. La Proposición 15, o la Iniciativa Escuelas y Comunidades Primero, tratará a las corporaciones como a un propietario promedio. Cuando alguien compra una casa, esa propiedad se vuelve a evaluar y los impuestos a la propiedad aumentan. La Proposición 15 garantizará que las corporaciones sigan estas mismas reglas. Esta es una solución de sentido común para un sistema tributario injusto que con demasiada frecuencia beneficia a las corporaciones más ricas.
Más del 90% de los $12 mil millones que la Proposición 15 traerá a nuestras comunidades provendría solo del 10% de propietarios corporativos.
Al aprobar la Proposición 15, California creará un fondo educativo para distribuir dinero directamente a los distritos escolares locales. Nuestras escuelas necesitan enormemente estos recursos. California se ubica actualmente cerca de la parte inferior en el puesto 39 en financiamiento por alumno a pesar de tener la economía más grande del país. Nueva York gasta el doble en cada estudiante. ¿Qué podrían lograr nuestros maestros y escuelas con millones en fondos adicionales cada año?
En el corto plazo, cerrar esta laguna fiscal traerá los recursos necesarios a nuestras escuelas para que puedan enfrentar mejor los desafíos que enfrentan como resultado de la pandemia de COVID-19. A largo plazo, podremos reducir el tamaño de nuestras clases (actualmente el más alto del país) y ayudar a eliminar las desigualdades raciales y económicas de larga data en la financiación de la educación.
La Prop 15 también traerá nuevos fondos para nuestro sistema de colegios comunitarios. Podremos profundizar nuestra inversión en capacitación para los trabajadores de atención médica de primera línea y crear oportunidades para que aquellos que pueden haber perdido recientemente su trabajo tomen clases y adquieran nuevas habilidades que los ayudarán a volver a ingresar a la fuerza laboral más rápidamente.
Traer nuevos ingresos para nuestras escuelas y colegios comunitarios en todo el estado contribuirá en gran medida a crear un sistema educativo excepcional en California. Durante demasiado tiempo, esta laguna fiscal ha dado prioridad a nuestras corporaciones. Ahora es el momento de priorizar el futuro de nuestro estado y nuestros niños.
Ana Ponce es directora ejecutiva de Great Public Schools Now y Maria Brenes es directora ejecutiva de InnerCity Struggle