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Help on the Way?: Two Potential Tax Measures seek to More Adequately Fund Education by Taxing Big Corporations and the Rich

Aug 25, 2019

As we head toward 2020, there are two tax measures that may be on the November ballot.  The first of which, the Schools and Communities First (insert link: measure, seeks to reform Proposition 13 by allowing the state to reassess the large commercial properties at current rates while leaving individual home owners and small businesses unaffected.  


Historically, the big winners after Proposition 13 passed were not individual homeowners but large commercial property holders.  While giving big business a giant tax break had nothing to do with the arguments in favor of the measure, the lion’s share of the tax savings flowed in their direction, shifting the majority of the property tax burden away from corporate entities onto homeowners.  


The much-needed reform that the Schools and Communities First measure offers would bring in up to $11 billion a year to education and a variety of social services.  As opposed to Propositions 30 and Proposition 55 (which extended 30’s taxes on the wealthy for 10 years), this would be a permanent, rather than temporary, revenue stream that would both help change the game for education funding and establish a fairer property tax system in California.  


Your CFT along with CTA and a host of community organizations are behind this measure and will be doing more education and advocacy as we get closer to the November 2020 election.  The most recent polling from the Public Policy Institute shows that 56% of Californians support the Schools and Communities First measure.  


In addition to this ballot proposition, the California School Boards Association is supporting the Full and Fair Funding (insert link: campaign pushing for a permanent 1.5% percent tax on millionaires alongside a 5% tax on corporations making over $1 million.  Backers of this measure claim that it will bring in up to $12 billion a year with 89% going to K-12 schools and 11% going to Community Colleges.  


The campaign for this measure released a poll showing that 6 in 10 Californians would support this measure and are trying to move the legislature to impose it, reserving the option of a ballot measure if nothing happens in Sacramento by January 2020.  Most political observers think that it is unlikely the legislature will take action on this meaning a signature gathering campaign for Full and Fair Funding would begin early next year.  


Obviously, questions remain about the viability of two tax reform measures on the same ballot in 2020, so depending on the political winds, it will be interesting to see how much momentum this second measure is able to gain.  We’ll keep you posted as the story unfolds.  


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