Some 80-200 enthusiastic people came together Tuesday, August 14 to kick off what will be a two-year campaign to pass the Schools & Communities First initiative that will appear on the November 2020 California State ballot.
The goal of the initiative is to reform Proposition 13, an amendment to the State Constitution passed by the voters in 1977, which fixed a lower taxation rate on both residences and commercial properties. The Schools and Communities First initiative does not alter the taxation of residential properties or small businesses, but rather makes the taxation of corporate property owners more equitable.
This is the first time in the 40 years since Proposition 13 passed that commercial tax reform has qualified for the state ballot.
The launch event was held at the South Berkeley Senior Center, and there were similar gatherings in Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, and San Bernardino. Some 280 organizations, including local Leagues, and 5,000 volunteers throughout the state have been involved in gathering over 860,000 signatures on petitions to place this initiative on the ballot. This is about 300,000 more signatures than legally required, and so there is no doubt that the initiative will qualify. The official counting is now proceeding.
At the kick-off event, several speakers addressed the importance of assuring equitable and adequate funding to schools and communities. It is estimated that the initiative would restore over $10 billion annually to the support of education and basic civic programs of cities and counties. As one speaker aptly put it, “This is bold reform, but simple common sense”.
The League will be very actively engaged in supporting this initiative as a top priority, and will have a large role in educating our communities about the importance of its passage.
Prop 13 Reform Team member
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