Progressive Coalition Files Split Roll Measure for 2020

by Brian Leubitz

We still have twelve weeks before the 2018 election, but a coalition of labor, community organizations, business leaders, and elected leaders are already thinking about 2020. Today, they filed 860K signatures, far more than the 575K requirement to get to the ballot. Even assuming a higher failure rate that is typically encountered when using a mostly volunteer signature gathering process, this seems like it is on the road to the ballot.

In short, it is a split roll measure, which would split the personal property roll from commercial and industrial property. It is difficult to imagine that as they were watching ads about granny losing her home, voters were thinking about how much an office building or factory was worth. And that’s exactly the point here, the state is basically giving a huge tax boost to large companies. Maybe that’s what we would want to do, but we should be upfront about the transfer of wealth from school teachers to real estate conglomerates.

“Over the last 40 years, California has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, leading to chronic underfunding of schools, services, and local communities along with poor local land use decisions, and a spiraling housing crisis,” said Helen Hutchison, President of the League of Women Voters of California. ”Schools and Communities First is the first structural and equitable tax reform in four decades. It will reclaim over $11 billion robbed every year from schools and local communities, shaping a new legacy of investment in the people of California.”

Of course, you will see people screaming about “job killers.” But, alas, this is simply not true. In a recent study, UC-Santa Cruz researches came to the conclusion that fair assessments of real property would actually strengthen the state’s economy by incentivizing better land use.

We will have a long time to talk about this split roll measure, but it is a conversation that has been necessary for a long time. Prop 13 reform is overdue, and maybe 2020 will be the year we actually get some real reform.

By the by, don’t be fooled again by this granny in the streets canard. The CA Realtors are trying it again with Prop 5, and it will be an uphill climb to defeat it at the ballot. But don’t fall for it, it will cost the state and municipalities billions of dollars.