Distortions and Outright Lies Call Spokesperson’s Veracity Into Question
SACRAMENTO, CA – During a forum sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) to discuss and inform voters about Proposition 15, California Teachers Association (CTA) Vice President David Goldberg, representing the proponents, offered a series of blatant falsehoods and distortions about Prop 15’s impacts on farmers and small business owners. Not stopping there, Goldberg also misrepresented the California Assessors’ Association’s opposition to Prop 15, and disputed Prop 15 supporters’ frequently stated intention to fully repeal Prop 13 for everyone – including all California homeowners.
“It is a shame that a person who should be a role model for our kids would conduct himself in such an offensive and deceitful manner,” said Michael Bustamante, spokesperson for the No on Prop 15 campaign. “Voters deserve better and should not stand for anyone from any campaign who willfully misrepresents the facts. He ought to be sent to the principal’s office for telling so many lies.”
The No on Prop 15 campaign is setting the record straight. Below are series of Goldberg’s lies, followed by the true facts about Prop 15.
“Farmers have paid their fair share, and this exempts them 100 percent…. At the end of the day, it’s unequivocal. This initiative exempts farmland. It exempts all the things she talked about, the farm use of buildings that are considered part of farming are exempt. All of it is exempt…. The people who are going to be doing this by the way are the county assessors. County assessors know that all agricultural, whether its land, whether it’s fixtures, whether it’s the buildings where they do the packing it’s all 100 percent exempt.”
Prop 15 defines “real property used for commercial agricultural production” to exclude improvements and fixtures – and only apply to land. In other places, Prop 15 excludes residential “land” and “structures,” so the proponents knew what they were doing when they drafted the initiative to apply to agriculture. Further, Prop 15 sweeps in all commercial and industrial “real property” for reassessment. To learn more, check out our Read It For Yourself on how Prop 15 hurts farmers here.
In fact, county assessors also agree that farmers and ranchers will be taxed, in direct contradiction to Mr. Goldberg’s lie.
- “For one, although land for agricultural production is excluded from mandatory re-assessment as mandated by Split-Roll, the structures and fixtures are not. This includes dairy, barns, production facilities, wineries, etc. In addition, mature fruit trees and other crops are not clearly exempt.” — San Bernardino County Assessor Bob Dutton, in an April 21, 2020 letter to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors (link here) (emphasis added).
- “Prop. 15 will not help. It will make things worse. It will remove Prop. 13’s protections for California farmers, triggering annual reassessments at market value for agriculture-related fixtures, irrigation systems and improvements, including barns, dairies, processing plants, wineries, producing fruit trees, nut trees and vineyards.”— Fresno County Assessor Recorder Paul Dictos, CPA (link here) (emphasis added).
“First of all, to come out and say that county assessors are against this, is another thing that is just not true.”
On June 2, 2020, the California Assessors’ Association forwarded to the Assembly Committees on Revenue and Taxation and Local Government a letter which read in part, “After careful consideration the California Assessors’ Association must oppose The California Schools and Communities Funding Act of 2020 (Initiative No. 19-0008-Amendment 1).” The letter and policy briefing paper were disseminated far and wide and available to the public. Read the California Assessors’ Association’s letter and policy briefing paper here.
“In fact our opposition had one-third of their ballot argument thrown out by the state supreme court…. It’s just a straight out lie, that’s why again that one-third of their ballot statement was thrown out by the state supreme court.”
No ballot challenges were heard before the California Supreme Court nor did they make any findings regarding the validity of ours or any other ballot measure’s arguments.
“That’s why their ads had to be pulled showing this barber saying his taxes were going to go up when the value of his property is over $120,000.”
Not only did “Barbershop” run the length of the original buy, but the No on Prop 15 campaign discredited a sophomoric stunt by the Yes on 15 campaign when they tried to claim the location where the ad was filmed would receive a tax break. The proponents got the location wrong in their press release, and once again demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of their own initiative and the devastating impacts it will have on small businesses. Read our press release setting the record straight on the Yes campaign’s attempt to discredit our “Barbershop” TV ad here.
“When my opponent just says a straight-out outright lie, how do I respond? There is no one around this initiative that is going after Prop 13…. That’s deceitful, and it’s not ok. The stakes are too high for that kind of stuff to happen. No one in our campaign, no one in our whole coalition, no one is talking about going [after Prop 13].
Supporters of Prop 15, including the California Teachers Association (CTA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) among others, have tried to undermine and repeal Prop 13 for more than 40 years.
- In August 2020 at a Yes on Prop 15 event, UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz said, “We’ve got to be able to pass Schools and Communities First, as one measure, and then come back with another measure, and another, so that we make the rich pay their fair share.”
- After Prop 13’s passage, the CTA, SEIU and CFT unsuccessfully sued to block the implementation of Prop 13 and its taxpayer protections for residential property owners. In its court filings, CTA specifically objected to the 2% cap on assessed value growth for residential property.
- In 1992, CTA, SEIU, CFT, and CTRA spent more than $600,000 to support Prop 167, a massive tax hike measure that included a split-roll property tax. Opponents of Prop 167 warned that the measure would increase residential rents. Prop 167 failed by a vote of 41% to 59%.
- In 2014, Lowell Goodman, a former SEIU Local 721 communications director, proposed anti-Prop 13 documentary and included a trailer and 17-page proposal. The 17-page proposal was entitled “A Documentary Film Proposal by Lowell Goodman.” The proposal stated that fully repealing Prop 13 was a “great idea” and outlined a three-part strategy to dismantle Prop 13. The three-part strategy included removing Prop 13 tax caps for homeowners by “periodically” reassessing residential properties to raise residential valuations up to market value. The three-part strategy also included proposals for a split-roll and to eliminate the “absurd” 2/3 requirement to hike taxes.
- And finally, Prop 15 proponents objected to virtually every single sentence in their “kitchen sink” lawsuit before the Sacramento Superior Court except the sentence claiming, “homeowners are next” because they knew the evidence was against them—there is clear proof that proponents have claimed for years that homeowners are next.
ABOUT NO ON PROP 15 – STOP HIGHER PROPERTY TAXES AND SAVE PROP 13
No on Prop 15 – Stop Higher Property Taxes and Save Prop 13, a bipartisan coalition of homeowners, taxpayers, and businesses, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split-roll property tax for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.NOonProp15.org.