21 Oct VOTE YES ON PROP 15 — SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES FIRST
By Community Coalition’s Member-Led Political Education Committee:
Pastor Byron Smith
Prop 15, also known as Schools & Communities First, reclaims $12 billion annually for schools and communities so kids in our neighborhood can have the support they need like counselors, school nurses, teachers and up-to-date technology for a world-class education. It also directs resources to vital programs and services like clinics, road maintenance and housing programs that benefits the health, wellness and economic prosperity of everyone in California including Black, Indigenous and other communities of color who’ve been most harmed by the decades of inequality and disinvestment. Prop 15 will not raise taxes for homeowners or lead to increased rents for renters AND will cut taxes for small and minority-owned businesses in our neighborhoods that have been hurt the most during the Covid-19 crisis. Prop 15 closes a tax loophole benefiting a fraction of corporations and wealthy investors who own commercial property.
Large corporations like Disney and Chevron have not had a property tax increase since 1978. While they won’t go down without a fight, the court dealt a devastating blow to opponents by striking down some of the main scare tactics they’ve been using throughout the campaign. The court ruled that 92 words would be struck from the opponents’ ballot language, which mislead and scared homeowners into believing that their property taxes would increase. They won’t.
The Schools and Communities First campaign has a historically wide coalition of support. Organizations: ACLU of Northern California, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy, Equality California, League of Women Voters of California, New Approach PAC, Parent Teachers Association of California, Sierra Club California, ACLU of Southern California, California Calls, Consumer Federation of California, Indivisible CA, Mi Familia Vota, PICO California, San Francisco Unified School District, and so many others across labor, education, business, housing, healthcare, interfaith, elected leaders, and environmental groups.
Stop Higher Property Taxes and Save Prop 13, also known as No on Prop 15, is leading the campaign in opposition. AMVETS, Department of California, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Chamber of Commerce, California Grocers Association, California NAACP State Conference, California Small Business Association, California Taxpayers Association, National Federation of Independent Business-California, Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, American Legion, Department of California, California Business Roundtable, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California State National Action Network, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and the Southern California Leadership Council.
Pros: Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments; Exempt from taxation changes will be residential properties, agricultural land, and owners of commercial and industrial properties with a combined value of $3 million or less; Any additional educational funding will supplement existing school funding guarantees; Exempts small businesses from personal property tax; for other businesses, provides a $500,000 exemption.
Cons: Opponents feel that businesses like Chevron are reeling from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic that are expected to drag into the next decade and that making such a fundamental change in the property tax system during these chaotic times will have unexpected and possible dire consequences.
Why Does It Matter To South LA?
California schools rank 39th in per-pupil spending and have the nation’s largest class sizes. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed new demands on our schools and our teachers. Millions of Californians are unemployed with the impact felt most heavily on low wage workers and communities of color. There’s also been a persistent homelessness crisis that continues to plague California. Passing Schools and Communities First would bring direly needed funding into our communities.