On Tuesday, July 7th, dozens of families, workers, small business owners, and New Americans gathered at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library to call for the elimination of an egregious corporate loophole and demonstrated what a just, inclusive California could look like if all corporations paid what they owed to our communities.
Children and families depicted what California’s future would look like if corporations paid the 9 billion dollars that they have evaded, painting, speaking, and writing in seven different languages. Irma Navarro, parent leader at Services Immigrant Rights Education Network, shared "In the 1970's, before Proposition 13 was passed, California spent $400 more per pupil than the national average. Now, California is among the states who spend the lowest per pupil. As a mother, I care about the future of my children, and all of our children. That is why we are telling our state legislators to do the right thing and Make It Fair."
Members of the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) coalition celebrated contacting over twelve thousand low income, immigrant and refugee voters this summer, part of a larger effort that contacted over 120,000 voters between May and July. Three in four voters contacted supported Proposition 13 reform and SCA 5, the Property Tax Fairness Act. "Just within the last two weeks, I spoke to hundreds of voters. We got hundreds of Chinese voters supporting SCA 5 and closing this corporate loophole. Our communities are behind this measure. We need funding for local services like schools, affordable housing, clinics, and libraries." shared Michelle Xiong, leader and phone banker with Chinese Progressive Association.
“Today, we demonstrated what California immigrant families envision - a state with fully funded schools, safe parks, health care and housing for everyone who needs it, and corporations that pay what they owe.” Said Aparna Shah, Executive Director of MIV. “Immigrant families across the state are standing up and saying: “Now is the time to Make it Fair!”
SCA 5, the Property Tax Fairness amendment, would finally make our property tax code fair by assessing commercial and industrial properties at their market value, after a phase-in period. It would also provide significant tax relief for small businesses, protect homeowners and renters from any changes to their property tax status, and create strict new accountability measures for new revenues. SCA 5 would not change anything for residential homeowners or rental properties.
This reform is needed because structural flaws in the commercial property side of Prop. 13 have allowed a minority group of wealthy corporations and commercial property owners to dramatically reduce their tax share and shift that burden onto homeowners and renters. That has had negative consequences for our residents, who pay more in taxes for less in services, and for new businesses who are put at a steep tax disadvantage relative to their more established competitors.
Penny Baldado, owner of Cafe Gabriela, spoke about why she supports SCA 5, "If we don't have strong services, its bad for our communities and bad for small business. Without the small business section of my local public library, I would not have been able to open my cafe. The price of goods and rent is not based on property tax. This reform is a win for my business and my community."