42 percent of a $26 billion bond measure is way too much to pay in interest. That’s the real story behind the new (but not really improved) Proposition 13, the education bond measure on the March 3 ballot.
Anyone familiar with the original Proposition 13, which was passed in 1978 will not recognize this one which, if passed, would stick California voters with a huge bill over the next 35 years.
This year’s Proposition 13 will not be paid for with proposition taxes as its predecessor was, but is instead a $15 billion bond measure, which is a loan that will cost California taxpayers an additional $11 billion in interest. That’s 42 percent of the total estimated cost of $26 billion and not one red cent of that $11 billion will go to help a single student. That is completely unacceptable.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the California Legislature’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and policy advisor, Californians would have to pay an estimated $740 million a year over the next 35 years. The money needed to make this payment would come from the state’s general fund, which also happens to fund California transportation, corrections, environmental protection, housing, and government operations, all of which are in need of additional funding, especially housing, which had an estimated 151,278 homeless as of January 2019.
Californians understand and appreciate the need to improve schools. According to the U.S. News and World Report, California currently ranks 21st in the country in education. However, bond measures are not the fiscally sound way to accomplish this, and naming the bond after an older, well-known proposition that didn’t require a bond is a sneaky way of slipping it past voters.
The new Prop 13 also has hidden within it a provision that prohibits schools around subway stops and bus stations from collecting school impact fees from new multi-family developments. School impact fees have traditionally been used to help schools maintain and build new facilities.
According to the Dice Tech Job Report, California has ranked number one in tech job employment for the past two years. These jobs require a skilled, educated workforce and school impact fees could produce the most non-bond (i.e., loan) revenue for state schools to do much-needed upgrades to their facilities, but the bureaucrats decided to take that money from the school’s coffers.
California voters have passed Prop 13 repeatedly since 1978. They’ve gotten used to it but have they gotten so used to it that they no longer evaluate its efficacy?
According to Mark Baldassare at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), “Fewer than half who would vote yes or no on proposition 13 say the outcome of the vote … is very important to them.”
If Prop 13 isn’t important to the majority of voters in California, then how much attention is being paid to its outcome? Incurring a $26 billion debt, $11 billion of which is interest that does nothing for education, is an awful lot of money to be spending on education to rank 21st in the nation.
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