Thanks to California’s cyclical system for assigning ballot numbers, a measure named Proposition 13 is once again appearing on the state’s primary ballot — and this is creating some uncertainty among voters who may be confusing Proposition 13 on the March 2020 ballot with a 1978 property tax initiative.
Although the new measure has the same number as Proposition 13 of 1978, it has nothing to do with the well-known constitutional amendment to cap property tax valuations — and is not a repeal of it, as some voters have been speculating. The new 2020 measure, named California Proposition 13, School and College Facilities Bond, is instead a request to authorize bonds to pay for much-needed school infrastructure. And the bonds would be repaid over 35 years with state general fund money, not property taxes.
When voting on the new Prop. 13 in March 2020, citizens will decide whether to allow the state to borrow $15 billion for critical construction and renovation at the state’s aging school and college facilities, including $9 billion for preschool and K-12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges. The measure also creates a priority system so that districts with the most urgent needs, such as mold or seismic hazards, jump to the front of the line.
The legislation that put Prop. 13 on the 2020 ballot drew strong bipartisan support, with only five assembly members voting against it. Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) said, “These are funds that our schools desperately need to ensure our children are learning in safe, up-to-date classrooms, and there is no better investment for our state resources than our students. This is money that will fund critical health and safety improvements, such as removing mold and asbestos from classrooms and lead from school drinking water, fund emergency relief for schools struck by disasters, and modernize career and vocational training facilities, including those for veterans returning from duty. And it comes complete with transparency, by providing annual independent audits and public hearings so taxpayers can see how the money is being spent.”
Prop. 13 has garnered widespread support including endorsements from: the California Building Industry Association, California Chamber of Commerce, California Federation of Teachers, Board of Regents of the University of California, California State University Board of Trustees, Community College League of California, California Teachers Association, California State PTA, California Medical Association, League of Women Voters of California and the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board.
As an advocate for the critical need to invest continuously in our infrastructure — which provides jobs to support families and the economy — SCPFJ joins these organizations in supporting Prop. 13 to bring much-needed repairs and upgrades to our schools … and much-need jobs to Southern California.