Prop 15, The Schools and Communities First Initiative, is being sold as a way to help local education.  This is a constitutional amendment to eliminate Prop. 13 that was passed in 1978.  Prop. 13 limited property tax to 1% of the purchase price, with provisions to increase each year by 2% or the inflation rate, which ever is less.

Initially the change would only impact certain categories of commercial property, so the homeowner may vote for it thinking it will not cost him any money.  If this passes, it will soon apply it to all property.  We need also to be aware that any increase in cost for a commercial operator will be reflected in higher costs for goods and services.  Most businesses have a very thin profit margin, making the product or service cheaper or lowering wages are not good options for staying in business.  Our legislators are trying to convince us that a tax increase on commercial property will not affect you.  What about rent increases?  We already have a shortage of affordable housing; will increasing the landlord’s property tax bill also increase the rent for the tenant?

I encourage you to read the proposition. You will find that most of the increased revenue will go into the general fund.  The remaining will be split between local governments and schools.  Once the general fund gets revenue, we will have no say in how it will be dispersed.

Our state government has adequate revenue; they just need to do a better job of controlling costs.

— Mel Granskog, Chico