Growing Coalition to Raise $11 Billion for Schools and Infrastructure Projects Statewide by Closing 1970s-era Corporate Tax Loophole
Sacramento, CA – Today, California YIMBY announced it has joined a growing coalition of over 300 California education, health, civil rights, labor, and equity organizations to support the Schools and Communities First campaign, which could raise over $11 billion annually for urgently-needed school and community infrastructure projects by closing a 40-year-old tax loophole for large corporations and wealthy investors.
The campaign seeks to place an initiative on the November 2020 ballot that will end the practice, begun in the 1970s, of allowing large commercial and industrial landowners to keep their property taxes artificially low by deflating the value of their land.
“California may be the 5th largest economy in the world, but we’re 41st in per-pupil funding — and dead last in the number of teachers per student,” said Brian Hanlon, President and co-founder of California YIMBY. “These outdated tax loopholes reward the oldest, largest corporations and wealthiest investors in our state and put the burden on the rest of us to fund our schools and infrastructure. The Schools and Communities First Initiative will allow us to increase these investments, and help achieve our agenda of greater access to opportunity for all Californians.”
If it passes in November 2020, the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act would close the corporate tax loophole in “Proposition 13,” an anti-schools, anti-infrastructure measure passed in the 1970s during a different era in California’s history. By requiring large corporate landowners and investors to pay taxes based on fair market value, the Act would bring California tax code up to modern standards and put it on par with how the vast majority of states assesses commercial property.
The ballot measure would ensure that all residential property and small businesses are exempt from reassessment; protecting homeowners and renters and leveling the playing field for small businesses. The new revenues will be distributed as property taxes are currently allocated, with 40% supporting K-12 schools and community colleges, and the balance allocated to cities, counties and special districts for local services. The measure maintains Prop 13’s current protections for homeowners, renters and agricultural areas, and includes tax relief for small businesses, as well as provisions for oversight and accountability.
About Schools and Communities First
Schools and Communities First is a powerful, growing statewide alliance of 300 community organizations, labor unions, business leaders, philanthropic foundations and elected officials seeking create a California that works for everyone. Members of the coalition include California YIMBY, California Calls, League of Women Voters of California, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Tech Equity Collaborative, Housing California, Alliance San Diego, Evolve California, Common Sense Kids Action, Policy Link, the California Federation of Teachers, Advancement Project California, ACLU of Southern California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of California, Community Economics, Working Partnerships, USA, Oakland Rising, Bend the Arc for Justice, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, PICO California, ACCE, Asian Pacific Islanders for Civic Empowerment, California Association of Nonprofits, Courage Campaign, California Partnership, the Parent Teacher Association, the San Francisco Foundation, APEN Action, and Power California.