No on this “Proposition 13”

Why we’re against it: The “Proposition 13” on the March 3, 2020, ballot has nothing to do with the 1978 Proposition 13. This measure is a $15 billion school construction bond that will cost taxpayers $27 billion when interest charges are added, (The state borrows money by selling bonds to investors and then repaying it, with interest, over decades.)

This measure would cost the state $740 million per year, money that comes from the General Fund. It’s an expense, like all bond debt, that must be paid ahead of any other priorities, even law enforcement. If there is a recession, too much debt puts us at risk of a reduction in services or demands for emergency tax increases at the worst possible time.

Not only would this “Proposition 13” increase the state’s debt and interest costs, it would also cause an increase in local property taxes. The measure raises the debt caps for local school district borrowing, meaning districts could sell more bonds than they’re currently allowed to issue under the caps. Local bonds are repaid by local property owners. The charges for school bonds show up on property tax bills under “Voted Indebtedness.”

Additionally, this “Proposition 13” needlessly raises the cost of school construction projects by giving priority for funding to districts that agree to use a Project Labor Agreement, or PLA. These agreements limit competitive bidding and require districts to pay the very highest labor costs in the area. This is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.

We recommend a NO vote on this “Proposition 13.”