The Revision of Proposition 13: Pros and Cons

This+sign+shows+voters+how+to+get+to+University+Preparatory%2C+the+location+of+a+polling+place.+Californians+went+to+the+polls+on+March+3rd+to+vote+on+important+topics%2C+such+as+the+revision+of+Proposition+13.+Originally+intended+to+modernize+and+repair+Californian+schools%2C+it+has+received+backlash+from+anti-tax+groups+and+the+business+community.

Caitlynn Kelley

This sign shows voters how to get to University Preparatory, the location of a polling place. Californians went to the polls on March 3rd to vote on important topics, such as the revision of Proposition 13. Originally intended to modernize and repair Californian schools, it has received backlash from anti-tax groups and the business community.

Caitlynn Kelley, Journalist

Californians were at the polls on March 3rd to vote yes or no to a revision of Proposition 13. All residents of Victorville who are of legal voting age were able to vote for propositions, such as the revision of Prop 13, at University Preparatory from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Proposition 13 was voted in the Constitution of California in 1978 and it allows commercial property and residential property to be treated the same; they would both be taxed the same amount of money as when the buyer bought the property. This is especially beneficial when the buyer bought the property in a now expensive area. The revision of Proposition 13, however, will treat commercial property differently from residential property and will be called “the split-roll.” The tax on commercial property will now be evaluated every three years. However, small businesses, businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will be exempted from this.

Proposition 13 is supposed to help with raising how much the state government pays for each public school student. The state average of how much California pays per student is lower than the national average. There will be a $15 billion dollar bond to help repair and modernize Californian public schools and higher educational institutions. Unions, social groups, and organizations have come out in favor of the revision of Proposition 13, and some of which include: the League of Women Voters, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.

Despite this, many are against the revision of Proposition 13. Anti-tax groups and the business community in California state that consumers will feel the brunt of the increased commercial property taxes and that some companies would close down or flee to other states, which would leave many Californians out of jobs. Another reason is that local school districts can have a doubled borrowing limit. The president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Poupal, believes that the doubled borrowing limit for local school districts is actually a property tax increase. Californian taxpayers will have to pay $26 million to help the state pay off their purchase of $80 billion in bonds. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Californian Chamber of Commerce are some of the groups that are against the revision. Howard Jarivs was the man that was behind Proposition 13 in 1978. Politicians have been wary of doing anything with Proposition 13 due to its status as a third rail (very controversial topic) in American politics. However, voters on March 3, 2020 made their decisions known to the Californian government.

 

Caitlynn Kelley
This California Presidential Primary Election Pamphlet has information that all Californians need to know about the propositions. Regarding the Prop. 13 revision, voter Eric Nordbeck stated, “I believe that that is one step into raising taxes for everyone… [It’s] limiting the ability to stop taxes from going up that the original Proposition 13 has held in place for us.”

One of these voters was Eric Nordbeck, who voted at the University Prep polling place. He stated what he knows about Proposition 13 and the revision, “Supposedly, if I understood correctly, it applies mostly to businesses and to raise taxes.”

Senior Kaeden Sanchez said, “I know that Proposition 13 was basically put in place to limit the raising of property taxes on businesses. You couldn’t raise the taxes more than two percent or or by the inflation rate, depending on which one is less. The revision would make an exception on Proposition 13 for commercial and industrial businesses, except for agricultural stuff.”

Senior Carlos de Santiago gave his opinion on how the California business community views the revision of Proposition 13. “California already has high prices and taxes to begin with, so it is really hard for mom and pop shops to even start up. When taxes on commercial businesses and industrial businesses pop up, it starts to choke down commercial businesses and mom and pop shops down to nothing. It [the taxes] will increase prices in everything.” Sanchez agrees with Santiago, “It makes it harder for small businesses to get going in California, so might as well move somewhere out of state when we’re raising taxes. We already have a bunch of taxes and fees.” Nordbeck also supported businesses. “I think that we need to support business because, for instance, right now the economy is going [so] well that people are finding jobs and when we support businesses, we are supporting our own people too. Again, I say when they want to raise taxes on businesses, it is just one step from raising taxes on residents as well.”

California already has high prices and taxes to begin with, so it is really hard for mom and pop shops to even start up. When taxes on commercial businesses and industrial businesses pop up, it starts to choke down commercial businesses and mom and pop shops down to nothing.”

— Carlos de Santiago

Santiago stated how taxes on businesses can grow exponentially, “Since it is a net, they all fall in the same category; both commercial and industrial businesses are no longer out. They don’t have a cap of two percent per year. So they [taxes] can go up four percent, five percent…”

Sanchez believes that the money from the split-roll will be useless due to inflation, “So, it [taxes] is based on whatever the inflation rate is and that doesn’t mean that they’ll get more money because of more inflation. Their money is worthless.” Carlos de Santiago states how more taxes would hurt businesses because the increased taxes will hurt them in the long run. “What happened to Toys R Us will be a more common thing. That is why you don’t see other bookstores around besides Barnes and Noble…”

There is going to be a fifteen billion dollar bond that comes from the split-roll money to repair schools that are in need. Nordbeck states what he thinks should be done with the split-roll money, “…When they say repair schools, there are schools in underprivileged areas that really need to be fixed and improved, but also there needs to be money spent on teaching people on how to take care of things too. It seems like the less fortunate are the ones that often are not taking care of what they own. Tax payers pay for it; they should take care of it.”

Kaeden Sanchez and Carlos de Santiago both agree that University Preparatory doesn’t need to use the money from the split-roll.

The Californian government is going to prioritize unionized labor if the school district does want to use the split-roll money to help rehabilitate their schools. There is a concern that the unionized labor would raise costs for the school districts. Regarding the potential raising of the costs, Sanchez stated, “‘We make more money to give to school, but also the schools have to spend more money.’ That just basically cancels out the whole thing [the split-roll money].”  Sanchez agreed that this negates the whole purpose of giving a lot of money to schools that are in need.

Maybe it is a little bit of a negative attitude, but after thirty-five years of working in California, I’ve noticed so much change. Anything that raises taxes just sets off an alarm for me now. I just don’t see the money being spent in the way that they say it is in a positive way.”

— Eric Nordbeck

Nordbeck states how his long experience of working in California has influenced his judgement on this topic, “I guess I don’t really understand the gist of the question and the expenses. Maybe it is a little bit of a negative attitude, but after thirty-five years of working in California, I’ve noticed so much change. Anything that raises taxes just sets off an alarm for me now. I just don’t see the money being spent in the way that they say it is in a positive way. I just am so leery of extra taxes that sometimes I don’t even look into it as deeply. So, I’m probably not as qualified to answer that question because, like I said, I looked at taxes going up and I already felt like, ‘no, not for me.’”

Students and voters alike have mixed feelings about the Revision of Proposition 13. Some of them believe that the Revision of Proposition 13 would increase the taxes of residential property owners on top of the taxes that residents already pay. It is up to us as Californians to vote for what would be the best for our state and to trust our judgment.