California Educator

April / May 2019

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 45 of 73

e original intent of Prop. 13 was ostensibly to protect home- owners, especially seniors on fixed incomes, from being taxed out of homes they had bought years before. However, by far the great- est benefit has gone to corporations, which in many cases have paid ridiculously low rates on long-held properties. In 2008, when Anheuser-Busch was purchased by multinational brewer InBev, its 3 million-square foot Van Nuys brewery prop- erty was being taxed at $18,000 annually, or less than a penny per square foot. If taxed at then-current values, the tax bill for the land alone should have been over $1.3 million. To compound the problem, many corporations have gamed the system during property purchases through various means, includ- ing ensuring that no single purchaser owns more than 50 percent. In 2002, for example, wine company Gallo purchased 1,765 acres of vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, but avoided a reassessment because 12 Gallo family members obtained individual minority interests in the sale. While it's certain that the measure will face fierce and well- funded opposition by corporations and business-friendly taxpayer groups, proponents argue the measure will simply place California on par with how the vast majority of states treat commercial prop- erty by assessing them at fair market value. is initiative would only affect undervalued commercial properties, creating a level playing field for those businesses that already pay their fair share. CTA is joined by dozens of education groups, school boards, housing advocates, small businesses, social justice groups and other labor in supporting the measure. "We'll be working in the coming year to ensure both CTA mem- bers and the general public are clear about what this initiative will do and how much it will benefit California public schools," said Heins. "As the #RedForEd movement has raised awareness of the chronic underfunding of our schools, the time is right for this initiative to help reverse that trend." For more on the CSLCFA and on tax fairness, visit the cam- paign website at schoolsandcommunitiesfirst .org and Details, Details The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act: • Restores over $11 billion a year for services that all Californians rely on like schools and community colleges. Out of this revenue, $4.5 billion will support K-12 education and community colleges, and the remainder will be shared by counties, cities and special districts to support community services, including health clinics, trauma care and emergency rooms, parks, libraries and public safety. • Benefits small businesses by exempting owner- operated small businesses from reassessment until they are sold; leveling the playing field so small businesses can compete more fairly with big corporations; and reducing their taxes by eliminating the property tax on fixtures and equipment. • Mandates full transparency and accountability for all revenue restored to California from closing the commercial property tax loophole. Endorsers CSLCFA endorsers include education, labor, hous- ing, health, and social and environmental justice groups, as well as individuals and elected officials. Here is a partial list; for the full list, and to get involved, see CTA/NEA Common Sense Kids Action California Federation of Teachers American Federation of Teachers League of Women Voters of California California State PTA SEIU California " We're talking about billions of dollars lining the pockets of corporations that should be going to help California students. This initiative is fair and long overdue." — CTA President Eric C. Heins 44 Advocacy

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - April / May 2019