ICYMI: Civil Rights, Social Justice Organizations Blast Zuckerberg Donations to Pass Proposition 15

Zuckerberg’s support for $11.5 billion property tax increase will “disproportionately hurt vulnerable communities”

SACRAMENTO, CA – A coalition of social justice organizations including the California State Conference of the NAACP, California State National Action Network, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and United Latinos Vote wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and co-founder and CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, criticizing his recent donations to the Yes on Proposition 15 campaign. Prop 15 would increase property taxes by $11.5 billion a year and disproportionately hurt minority-owned small businesses, all while increasing gentrification in the “vulnerable communities” Zuckerberg aims to help.

To date, Zuckerberg has donated more than $6.1 million through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help pass the largest property tax increase in California history.

Read excerpts from the letter below:

“As leaders of California’s social justice communities and with a deep understanding of the challenges facing the populations that now constitute a majority of the state’s population, we are disappointed to see you committing millions of dollars of your vast wealth to help pass a measure to substantially raise taxes on small, minority-owned small businesses throughout California. Unlike Facebook, restaurants, dry cleaners, nail salons and other small businesses can’t operate right now and many may never open again. The last thing they need is a billionaire pushing higher taxes on them under the false flag of social justice…

 “Data analyzed by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found a 41 percent drop nationwide in the number of Black business owners between February and April 2020. Latino-owned businesses sunk by 32 percent and Asian-owned businesses decreased by 26 percent. Despite these staggering numbers, Prop 15 will raise rents on the surviving businesses during an unprecedented economic crisis…

“Increasing property taxes on small businesses by up to $11.5 billion a year will hurt female- and minority-owned businesses the most and, according to studies by the California State Conference of the NAACP and Berkeley Research Group

“Prop 15 will provide a huge financial incentive for local governments to approve business projects to replace existing housing so they can receive higher property tax revenue. Perhaps that’s your rationale for supporting the initiative. Gentrification may seem like “progress” to you, but for our communities throughout California, gentrification is real and a growing problem. Prop 15 will push small minority- and immigrant-owned businesses out of our communities when they can’t afford Prop 15’s higher property taxes…

 “We realize that you have not been negatively impacted economically by COVID-19 but millions of Californians, including a disproportionate number in our communities, have. So, for one of the world’s wealthiest individuals to support the largest property tax increase in California history – a proposed tax increase that will be passed on by small businesses to consumers throughout the state in everything they buy – is deeply troubling.

 “We strongly encourage you to instead focus your energies and money on eliminating hate speech that permeates Facebook…

 “While you have the right to spend your vast Facebook wealth as you see fit, using it to punish small businesses fighting for a fraction of the success you’ve had is just wrong.”


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.