California’s Proposition 15 was petitioned onto the 2020 November ballot by 1.7 million people and maybe one of the largest tax increases in California history.
Proposition 15, also referred to as the “California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020,” roots back to California’s original Prop 13 that was passed in 1978. Prop 13 limited residential and commercial property taxes and based them on their original purchase price—which is a lot lower than their current market value.
Prop 15’s initiative revises the 1978 proposition by separating commercial property taxes from residential property taxes. Residential properties and agriculture properties would remain based on the original purchase price while commercial properties would be taxed based on their current market value, which would likely be a lot higher.
A yes vote on this measure would only affect larger commercial properties that are worth more than $3 million. Because the current market-values of the real estate will likely be a lot higher, tax revenue for the state would greatly increase. The funds from the increased tax revenue would be allocated towards K-12 public schools, community colleges and local governments.
This proposition would close tax loopholes for wealthy corporations to generate more funding for schools and governments. At the same time, it protects homeowners and renters from paying more taxes.
Those in support of this proposition include many Democratic lawmakers, several California school districts and the California Teachers Association.
“The North Orange County Community College District endorses Proposition 15,” according to President Ryan Bent of the NOCCCD Board of Trustees. “The North Orange County Community College District urges all California voters to support and vote for the passage of Proposition 15 in the November 2020 general election.”
On the other hand, a no vote on Prop 15 would mean that all commercial and industrial properties would remain under Prop 13’s legislation and would be taxed based on their original purchase price.
One of the primary arguments against this proposition is that it would be the largest tax increases in California history thus increasing the overall cost of living. In addition, the proposition doesn’t explicitly include protections for small business owners who may be tenants of bigger businesses; the increased property taxes may potentially be passed down to the small businesses.
Those who oppose this proposition include several local chambers of commerce, local branches of the NAACP and Republican Ted Gaines of the California Board of Equalization.
“According to estimates developed by the California Teachers Association … the North Orange County Community College District would receive over $14 million a year under Prop 15,” stated Vice President Dr. Barbara Dunsheath of the Board of Trustees.
For more details on this proposition, all other measures, and the candidates on this year’s ballot, voterguide.sos.ca.gov.