2020 Elections


2020 March Primary Elections coming soon! CA Legislature is, and has been working on changing Proposition 13 – again.

Read this first,  2020 Ballotpedia version of CA Propositions – 2020 Props

California Presidential Primary Election, Tuesday March 3, 2020 – OFFICIAL VOTER INFORMATION GUIDE

 

Feb 3, 2020 Letter to Editor of Fairfield Daily Republic.

The new Proposition 13, slated for the March 3 ballot, is not the proposition that will include commercial and industrial real estate property tax values in local school district bonding capacity caps.

That property tax inclusion is being written into a different proposition presently being finalized with the Secretary of State. At this point, it is identified as the split roll tax and will be on the November election ballot.

Don’t confuse the new Proposition 13 statewide bond issuance for school bonds with the split roll taxing capacity at the local school district level. The state bonds will be used as grants to qualifying school districts paid out of the state’s general fund. The split roll tax will increase the bond amount capacity only for local school districts paid out of the local property taxes.

Both propositions provide bond funding for school construction and then some, but the taxpayer payback of those bond funds is woefully different. With either proposition, the taxpayers will be forced to pay even more taxes that they can’t control over long periods of time.

Barbara Pisching

Suisun City

 

Here is another analysis of the “New” Proposition 13 from Tax Watcher Cathy Ritch.

The new Prop 13: What is it?

Back in 2016, voters approved one construction bond measure presented by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (Measure J) and another by the Solano Community College District

(Measure Q).   Our Taxpayer Group opposed both because they did not contain the lists of proposed projects required by law. With only 55% voter approval required, both measures squeaked by.

Despite our arguments and many studies showing that project labor agreements (PLA) increase the cost of building public facilities, both districts’ boards imposed PLAs on construction funded by those bond measures.

We thought those were dead issues, since both districts had reached the maximum legal amount of bonds that they could sell. We were wrong.

A proposition will appear on the March 2020 ballot to increase the bonding capacity of school districts across California. It also gives priority in matching funds to districts that include PLAs in their construction contracts.

To mislead voters, the Attorney General has labeled it Proposition 13. Remember, that’s the same number as the famous 1978 measure that fixed property taxes at 1% of the purchase price and limited increases to 2% per year. It’s allowed homeowners, especially those retired or on fixed incomes, to remain in their homes. It helps businesses anticipate their property taxes, thus enabling them to stay in California.  It’s done us all a world of good.  Politicians hope voters won’t go past the title, to read and understand what’s in it.

We’ll try to fix that.

The matter of bonding capacity doesn’t worry us right now. Both local school districts have lots of bond money. With no identified projects at the beginning, they’ve had to find ways to spend the money.

The sore point is project labor agreements.

Both school districts’ PLAs contain provisions intended to discourage non-union contractors from bidding on school construction projects:

(1) Every worker employed in those projects must pay union dues and into union pension and benefit plans. If any are not union members, they’ll never see that money again. PLAs make the contractor responsible for those payments, even though he already provides those benefits for his people.

(2) All workers, including employees of a non-union contractor, must register at a union hiring hall and will be assigned according to union priorities. Typically, it’s one union member, then one non-union, one union, and so on. There is no assurance that a non-union contractor will get his own employees back; he will have to deal with unfamiliar workers.

That’s why non-union contractors don’t bid on jobs with a PLA.

Most objective studies conclude that a project with a PLA costs an average of 15% more than one without. The absence of competitive bidding is the main reason why.

Think of it this way: 15% of the $249 million Fairfield-Suisun bond is more than $37 million – enough to build another elementary school, or maintain all of their schools for years.

A recent major study of California school projects showed that unionized construction workers now make up only about 10% of the workforce. Imposing a PLA cuts out 90% or more of local construction workers.

Project labor agreements are bad for schools. They’re bad for most construction workers. They’re bad for taxpayers. That’s why our Taxpayer Group opposes the new Prop 13. Think about it.

 

Tax Watcher John Takeuchi just wrote this article “draft” copy on a 2020 Bond Proposition named Prop 13, not to be confused with the famous 1978 Propositon 13. What in the world is happening here?

Back in 2016, voters approved one construction bond measure presented by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (Measure J) and another by the Solano Community College District (Measure Q).   Our Taxpayer Group opposed both because they did not contain the lists of proposed projects required by law. With only 55% voter approval required, both measures squeaked by.

Despite our arguments and many studies showing that project labor agreements (PLA) increase the cost of building public facilities, both districts’ boards imposed PLAs on construction funded by those bond measures.

We thought those were dead issues, since both districts had reached the maximum legal amount of bonds that they could sell. We were wrong.

A proposition will appear on the March 2020 ballot to increase the bonding capacity of school districts across California. It also gives priority in matching funds to districts that include PLAs in their construction contracts.

To mislead voters, the Attorney General has labeled it Proposition 13. Remember, that’s the same number as the famous 1978 measure that fixed property taxes at 1% of the purchase price and limited increases to 2% per year. It’s allowed homeowners, especially those retired or on fixed incomes, to remain in their homes. It helps businesses anticipate their property taxes, thus enabling them to stay in California.  It’s done us all a world of good.  Politicians hope voters won’t go past the title, to read and understand what’s in it.

We’ll try to fix that.

The matter of bonding capacity doesn’t worry us right now. Both local school districts have lots of bond money. With no identified projects at the beginning, they’ve had to find ways to spend the money.

The sore point is project labor agreements.

Both school districts’ PLAs contain provisions intended to discourage non-union contractors from bidding on school construction projects:

(1) Every worker employed in those projects must pay union dues and into union pension and benefit plans. If any are not union members, they’ll never see that money again. PLAs make the contractor responsible for those payments, even though he already provides those benefits for his people.

(2) All workers, including employees of a non-union contractor, must register at a union hiring hall and will be assigned according to union priorities. Typically, it’s one union member, then one non-union, one union, and so on. There is no assurance that a non-union contractor will get his own employees back; he will have to deal with unfamiliar workers.

That’s why non-union contractors don’t bid on jobs with a PLA.

Most objective studies conclude that a project with a PLA costs an average of 15% more than one without. The absence of competitive bidding is the main reason why.

Think of it this way: 15% of the $249 million Fairfield-Suisun bond is more than $37 million – enough to build another elementary school, or maintain all of their schools for years.

A recent major study of California school projects showed that unionized construction workers now make up only about 10% of the workforce. Imposing a PLA cuts out 90% or more of local construction workers.

Project labor agreements are bad for schools. They’re bad for most construction workers. They’re bad for taxpayers. That’s why our Taxpayer Group opposes the new Prop 13. Think about it.

More Tax News

Facts about the real  CA Prop 13 that we often refer to as “Split Roll” actions.

Here is the current news on the amendment – California Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative (2020).

According to Dan Walters – Hundreds of local tax increases, sales taxes mostly, have been placed before voters in the past couple of election cycles, and more are being planned for 2020 – California tax revenue soaring.

Argument against “New” Prop 13 – Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, stated, “Currently, there are strict limits on how much bond debt local school districts are allowed to carry. But a hidden provision of Prop. 13 (2020) 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.”[5]

The Brown Act

CHAPTER 9. Meetings [54950 – 54963] ( Chapter 9 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1588. )

54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
(Added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1588.)

54950.5. This chapter shall be known as the Ralph M. Brown Act.
(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 115.)

Here are CA Legislative Information page(s) for meetings & the Brown Act – The Brown Act

 

Page in progress – More to come on 2020 propositions, measures, initiatives.