When ordinary people hear the words “raise taxes,” it is usually met with an eye roll or a sigh. Taxes are not exactly the most alluring word in politics, but they play an essential role in keeping society up and running.
For much of the country, the focus of this year’s elections is the fight for the presidency, but for many Californians, the propositions placed on the ballot may play a larger role in what California is going to look like in future years.A notable proposed proposition is Proposition 15, which will require commercial properties valued at over $3 million to be taxed based on their market value. Tax money collected by Proposition 15 will be used to fund public schools, government services and community colleges.
Should Proposition 15 become law, it would be a huge win for LPC, community colleges and other educational institutions around the state. Money would go directly to schools, which could be used to improve facilities, hire teaching staff and offer more funding to school programs and clubs.
A goal of Proposition 15 at the community college level is to provide more resources for students and staff. LPC could use the resources to implement staffing policies that encourage diversity, an action that has been recommended by students and current staff.
“There is not enough diversity,” said English professor Michelle Gonzales. It is important for students of color to have a diverse faculty so that they can see other people doing professional work that they strive to do. But it is also important for white students to have professors of color so we can understand and break down the stereotypes about what kind of people are capable of having certain amounts of intelligence or certain kinds of knowledge.”
With an increase in funding, LPC could hire a more diverse staff to match the diversity of its student population. Other areas where LPC could use this funding are increasing mental health services for students, providing more technology to students and increasing funding for scholarships and grants.
The proposition is backed by many popular political figures such as presidential candidate Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as well as prominent members of the public education sector such as State Superintendent Tony Thurmund. Others, such as Jacqueline Martinez, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation and Carol Moon Goldberg, president of the League of Women Voters, are also supporting this proposition.
The common rebuttal to this proposition is that it will raise taxes on the middle class and small business owners. This is simply not true. Proposition 15 explicitly states that the taxes would not apply to homeowners. The tax applies only to property owners whose property value exceeds $3 million dollars.
With current tax laws, property owners pay the same amount of property tax they were paying when they first bought their property. For example, if a property owner bought a property in 1989 and still owns that building today, their property tax is the same as it was in 1989. Many large companies are against this bill because they want to keep their property taxes low in order to pay the least amount as possible.
Another argument against Proposition 15 is that schools would not be transparent with the funds given and could use funds improperly. one of the provisions of Proposition 15 explicitly states that public schools and community colleges would be required to maintain transparency with all the funds they will be using. Nothing could get swept under the rug because all records of the funds would be available to the public.
Funding education is vital. Proposition 15 can move the conversation forward and put action behind the politics of education.
An investment in education will ultimately lead to more students having more access to college and greater economic prosperity for both graduates and the state of California.
Proposition 15 will help build community colleges around the state and aid in building LPC’s student resources. For this reason, the editorial board of The Express backs Proposition 15 in hopes of building a better education system and a better environment at LPC.
Nathan Canilao is the editor-in-chief of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.