Commentary: Just say no to the new Proposition 13

Proposition 13 “is yet another money grab from Sacramento that will burden us, our children and our grandchildren with billions of dollars in new debt and interest,” says Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel.
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Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot is yet another money grab from Sacramento that will burden us, our children and our grandchildren with billions of dollars in new debt and interest.

And it won’t stop there. Proposition 13 will make it easier for school districts to raise new bonds and raise development fees.

I urge Californians to vote no on Prop. 13.

This is not the property-tax limiting Proposition 13 we all know. If passed on March 3, this year’s Prop. 13 will approve $15 billion in new school bonds, and cost us and future generations $27 billion, including interest.

The new bonds, and another provision to nearly double the amount local school districts can issue, will virtually guarantee increased local property taxes as school districts try to pay off their increased debt.

What does that say about how Sacramento is managing the state?

The proponents of this proposition are hiding the fact that this proposition could impose massive tax increases on hardworking Californians. It is incumbent upon taxpayer advocates in elected office to call out unnecessary spending when they see it.

This proposition, if passed, will be yet another burden on the already overtaxed and over-regulated residents of this state while masquerading as a necessary cost for public school renovations, when the state has already squandered billions in that area.

Writing in the Daily Breeze, John Coupal at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. described this proposition best: “Currently, there are strict limits on how much bond debt local school districts are allowed to carry. But a hidden provision of Prop. 13 nearly doubles the limits school districts can borrow. This means huge increases in property taxes are a near certainty. Who pays property taxes? We all do, either directly in property tax bills or through higher rents and other costs. Unlike the Prop. 13 from 1978, this Prop. 13 puts all taxpayers at risk of higher taxes.”

Prop. 13 will cost California taxpayers $740 million annually for 35 years, according to the Legislative Analyst’s office. This would be a general obligation bond, meaning it would have to be paid off before any other state programs can be funded. Prop. 13 would also double the debt caps for local school districts bond debt.

Our state is already drowning in debt because of gross mismanagement in Sacramento. If the state can’t improve the quality of schools with the billions they’ve already been given, what will convince us that they will act any differently with an additional $15 billion?

We, as hardworking Californians, should soundly reject this bond measure. We are already burdened enough with the high cost of living that is a result of Sacramento’s policies.

The writer is an Orange County supervisor.

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