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State senator proposes changes to Proposition 13

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DECEMBER 03, 2012

A state senator introduced an amendment to Proposition 13 Monday, urging that the legislature and California voters alter the measure to allow for greater funding to local schools.

The legislation, proposed by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would allow local property taxes to pass with a 55 percent voter majority in communities instead of supermajority as currently required.

The proposal comes in the wake of Proposition 30’s passage and newly elected democratic supermajorities in both legislative houses. If approved, the legislation may open the door to even greater changes to Proposition 13 — a landmark piece of legislation that limits property taxes and requires a two-thirds majority to pass local measures in communities and taxes through the legislature.

“I think given the context of everything happening with Prop. 30… changing the way taxes are passed in California through structural changes of Prop 13 is important,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi.

According to Abbasi, Prop. 13 has been the primary reason for a lack of consistent revenue in the state of California and this has directly affected UC funding.

“Education funding across California has been decimated in recent years, with severe consequences for students and our local schools,” Leno said in a statement. “This change in law would give voters the power to make decisions about public education at the local level.”

Leno’s bill will first be formally discussed in the new year, according to his press secretary Ali Bay.

Implemented in 1978, Prop. 13 has long been a point of contention among Californians for its strict anti-tax constraints. Despite cries for reform, former Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis said the measure keeps many people in their houses, and most Californians still support the measure.

“Passing Prop. 30 sent a signal that (the legislature) can use students as a bargaining chip,” Lewis said. “That’s kind of what I see happening again.”

As part of their budget campaign, the University of California Student Association took up reforming Prop. 13 due to its effects on public education. But it remains to be seen if Californians are interested in revising the law.

“It feels like we’re not clear right now if the passage of Prop. 30 means that we are in a new era in California in terms of taxes,” said UC Student Regent Jonathan Stein. “Maybe it means that (the state is) open to revising Prop. 13, but maybe it doesn’t.”

Corrections: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Senator Mark Leno's proposed legislation would place a proposition on the ballot to amend Proposition 13. In fact, the legislation itself would amend Proposition 13.
Contact Libby Rainey at [email protected]

DECEMBER 04, 2012

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