Right now, some of California’s richest corporations are taking advantage of a loophole that significantly decreases the amount of property taxes they pay each year. As a result, our schools and local governments are missing out on millions of dollars that could go to better fund our education system and other essential services like our firefighters. Enter Prop 15.
Proposition 15 will close this loophole and generate $12 billion annually for schools and our local communities. Prop 15, or the Schools and Communities First Initiative, will treat corporations just like an average homeowner. When someone purchases a home, that property gets reassessed and the property taxes increase. Prop 15 will ensure corporations play by these same rules. This is a common sense solution to an unfair tax system that far too often benefits the wealthiest corporations.
Over 90% of the $12 billion Prop 15 will bring into our communities would come just from the top 10% of corporate property owners. It will do this while maintaining the existing 1% limit on property taxes established by Prop 13–which remains far below similar sized cities across the country where businesses often pay closer to 2.5%.
By passing Prop 15, California will create an education fund to directly distribute money to local school districts. Our schools greatly need these resources. California currently ranks near the bottom at 39th in per-pupil funding despite having the largest economy in the country. New York spends twice as much on each student. What could our teachers and schools accomplish with millions in additional funding each year?
In the short term, closing this tax loophole will bring in necessary resources to our schools so they can better meet the challenges they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long-term, we will be able to lower our class sizes (currently the highest in the country) and help eliminate long-standing racial and economic inequities in education funding.
Prop 15 will also bring in new funding for our community college system. We will be able to deepen our investment in training for frontline health care workers and create opportunities for those who may have recently lost their job to take classes and gain new skills that will help them re-enter the workforce more quickly.
Bringing in new revenue for our schools and community colleges across the state will go a long way to creating an exceptional educational system in California. For too long, this tax loophole has prioritized our corporations. Now it is time to prioritize the future of our state and our children.
Ana Ponce, Executive Director, Great Public Schools Now
Maria Brenes, Executive Director, InnerCity Struggle