Proposition 13 funds would go toward schools, but critics question need

California Connection
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Aside from the Democratic presidential primary, the only other statewide issue on the ballot is Proposition 13.

It’s not the property tax measure approved in 1978. The new Proposition 13 would allow California to borrow $15 billion in funds for school construction and upgrades across the state.

“There are students who are going to school in facilities that really aren’t up to par,” Elk Grove Unified School District board member Nancy Chaires Espinoza said.

“There are times and places where bond financing is appropriate, but the state is sitting on a $22 billion surplus,” Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal said.

With early voting underway and the election less than a week away, the debate is intensifying on Proposition 13.

The $15 billion bond measure would provide K-12 facilities $9 billion for safety and modernization upgrades with $6 billion for California college campuses.

Supporters say Proposition 13 prioritizes cleaning up hazardous materials like asbestos and mold, along with the testing and treating of lead in water.

Although the bond is $15 billion, analysts say the state will likely end up paying another $11 billion in interest, totaling $26 billion.

Proposition 13 doesn’t raise taxes itself but critics are concerned higher taxes at the local level could be one of the effects if passed.

“In order to tap into that state money, local school districts have to propose their own bonds, and those are paid exclusively by property owners including homeowners,” Coupal said. “So, at the state level we’re going into massive debt, at the local level we’re exposing homeowners to higher property taxes.”

“If and when locals choose to create a local bond, that would be separate from this,” Espinoza said. “It would be in a different election and people would decide whether they want their community to have a local bond. We just want to make sure they have learning environments that are worthy of them and that actually prepares them for success in college and career going forward.”

Proposition 13 needs a majority vote to pass. A recent Public Policy Institute of California poll shows 51% of likely voters would approve the measure.

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