ICYMI: Los Angeles Daily News: “Why is Mark Zuckerberg spending millions to back harmful Proposition 15?”

SACRAMENTO, CA – Alice Huffman, president of the California State Conference of the NAACP, and Tecoy Porter, president of the California State National Action Network, penned an op-ed for the Los Angeles Daily News, criticizing the more than $10.5 million Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has donated through his organization, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in support of Proposition 15, the largest property tax increase in state history.

Read excerpts from the Los Angeles Daily News “Why is Mark Zuckerberg spending millions to back harmful Proposition 15” below:

“The other day, we read with open-mouths that the world’s fourth richest person, Mark Zuckerberg, made another contribution to the Yes on Proposition 15 campaign, bringing his total contributions to more than $10.5 million…

“We were disappointed not only in the contributions made to the Prop. 15 campaign but also because he has not asked to meet with us – representatives of California’s minority communities – about this measure’s profound, negative impact…

“Prop. 15 would have a significant and negative impact on the “vulnerable communities” that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative claims it wants to protect. Minority businesses are already struggling. They were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and are even more so since it shut down California’s economy…

“Unlike Facebook or the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, most small businesses do not own their property; they rent their space through a triple-net lease agreement. The property tax increases, maintenance and insurance costs are passed on directly to these small business tenants as a condition of their lease. Nothing in Prop 15 prevents higher rents for small businesses.

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

“Prop. 15 will also increase gentrification in vulnerable communities…

“Gentrification may seem like “progress” to Facebook’s founder. But, for our communities, 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 the initiative’s higher property taxes. The unintended consequence will intensify the gentrification that’s already occurring in much of the Bay Area and Southern California coastal counties.

“While Zuckerberg has the right to spend his vast Facebook wealth as he sees fit, using it to punish small businesses fighting for a fraction of his success is wrong.

“We would be more than happy to recommend better, more effective uses of Zuckerberg’s vast wealth to truly make a difference and to have a real impact on California’s vulnerable populations.”


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.

ICYMI: San Luis Obispo County Assessor Tom Bordonaro says Prop 15 “could be the beginning of the end for Prop 13”

SACRAMENTO, CALIF – San Luis Obispo County Assessor Tom Bordonaro, Jr. flagged serious concerns with Prop 15, the largest property tax increase in state history. Bordonaro announced his opposition to Prop 15 due to the likelihood the measure will cost San Luis Obispo County revenue—not increase it—and that homeowners will be targeted for higher property taxes next.

Read excerpts from the Paso Robles Daily “County Assessor: This could be the beginning of the end for Prop 13” below:

“‘Taxpayers will be hit with $12.5 billion in new taxes and consumers will be crushed by higher prices for everything that passes through a business located in California,” Assessor Bordonaro said. “Homeowners need to be especially aware that if Proposition 15 passes, property taxes on homes will likely be next,” Bordonaro said. “This could be the beginning of the end of Proposition 13 and the taxpayer protections that homeowners currently receive [emphasis added].’ 

 “The Assessor has just released a detailed report on the impact of Proposition 15 on San Luis Obispo County. Following careful review of the specifics of the measure, the Assessor has determined that San Luis Obispo County taxpayers will get hit for nearly $2 million in new costs and a decline in revenue to fund County services [emphasis added]…

 “‘These local establishments have been hit hard and now comes a major change to business property taxes that spell disaster for the businesses and consumers. Everyone will end up paying more for everything—from your morning coffee, to evening dinner, and every other consumer item in between.” Bordonaro said, “I ran for Assessor to protect Proposition 13 and look out for taxpayers, never has there been a greater threat to property tax protections that Proposition 15.'” 


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.


On all subjects, Yes on 15 campaign is failing: misleading voters about the reach, impact and negative consequences of the largest property tax in California history

SACRAMENTO, CALIF: Today, the No on Prop 15 campaign released a mid-term report card for on the Schools & Communities First campaign – with final grades coming due on Election Day, November 3, 2020. The report card highlights eight subject areas where the Yes on Prop 15 campaign has consistently misled voters, ignored significant flaws in the initiative that would harm communities throughout the state and hurt small businesses and consumers. The report card also gives the Schools & Communities First campaign an unsatisfactory conduct grade for lying to voters and for pushing a massive tax increase that would be highly disruptive to California’s already struggling economy.

“Report cards represent a teacher’s written assessment of a student’s work, progress, and conduct,” said Stephanie McKenzie, a public school teacher, Marysville City Councilmember, and mother. “If I were grading the Yes on 15 campaign, they would fail on nearly all fronts. At a minimum, I’d send the student to the principal’s office for telling so many lies and schedule a parent-teacher conference immediately.”

Throughout the course of the Prop 15 campaign, the No campaign has described – with supportive documentation – eight significant flaws that would harm key sectors of California’s economy, including farmers and ranchers, solar energy, disability access and fire suppression improvements.

To make matters worse, the Yes on Prop 15 campaign committee’s name – Schools and Communities First – is deceiving. Funding for education is last in line when the money is distributed and because Prop 15 is a general tax, there’s no guarantee that the monies raised by this tax increase would go into the classroom or to students in need.

“Prop 15 is just another blank check to the same broken system that will let local politicians spend our hard-earned tax dollars on outside consultants or administrator pay raises and pensions,” said Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, president of NAACP Los Angeles Branch and a retired public school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Schools lose with Prop 15. There’s no guarantee that any of the new revenue will make it into the classroom. Even the California School Boards Association refuses to support it.”


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.


Purported Study on Small Businesses in California Analyzes Proponents’ Lies, Not the Actual Initiative Language

SACRAMENTO, CA – Once again proving that they do not understand the initiative THEY wrote, proponents of Proposition 15, the largest property tax hike in California history, today released a report by Beacon Economics claiming to examine the impacts to small businesses, should the largest property tax increase in state history pass.

“This report directly contradicts itself, identifying in the ‘Context’ section that ‘the initiative excludes properties whose owners have $3 million or less in holdings in California.‘ However, in its analysis, the report wrongly says, ‘Prop 15 doesn’t apply to properties of less than $3 million in value.’ The latter is not true, but it is an often-repeated misrepresentation by proponents trying to hide the true impact this measure will have on small businesses throughout the state. This error in their analysis massively underrepresents the number of businesses affected by the measure,” said San Bernardino County Assessor Bob Dutton.

The distinction between properties worth less than $3 million in value and owners who own property less than $3 million is a critical distinction. The Black barbershop recently featured in a No on 15 ad is the perfect example of just how flawed this new Beacon study is. The property itself is valued at less than $100,000, far below the $3 million threshold. However, the owner owns multiple commercial properties in the City of Sacramento whose cumulative value is more than $3 million, meaning all properties owned by that owner, including the barbershop whose property is valued less than $100,000, will be reassessed under Prop 15. None of these types of properties are accounted for in this study. Read more on that analysis here.

“The Beacon Economics study cannot quantify the true impact of Prop 15 on small businesses because the data necessary to do so does not exist,” said Michael Bustamante, spokesperson for the No on Prop 15 campaign. “There is no statewide database to determine how many properties each whole or partial owner of each commercial property owns, something that will have to be created if Prop 15 passes. This is part of the implementation nightmare that has caused the California Assessors’ Association to oppose Prop 15. While there is no way to accurately determine how many properties will be affected by this requirement, significantly more properties with small business tenants will be assessed than are captured by this partial and flawed analysis.”

The true impact Prop 15 will have on countless small businesses and the rents they pay is being told by small business owners throughout the state.

“Most, if not all small businesses and restaurants like mine, have a triple net lease, meaning we are contractually obligated to pay for a percentage of the building’s property taxes, insurance and maintenance,” said Laurie Thomas, a San Francisco restauranteur. “When I signed a lease extension for my twenty-year-old restaurant four years ago, I knew what the property tax amount would be. If Prop 15 passes, the property tax portion of my annual lease costs could go from the $6,000 we pay now to well over $36,000 once the building is reassessed. I am very concerned that I, and many other small, neighborhood restaurants and businesses like mine, will not be able to keep our doors open and our workers employed if Prop 15 passes.”

Small businesses, which are already struggling to keep their doors open during the pandemic, will be left with few options if Prop 15 is not defeated – reduce employee hours, lay off employees, or pass on higher costs to consumers. Hear what small business owners across the state have to say about Prop 15 here.

Below is a recap of the provisions of Prop 15:

  • Property worth less than $3 million may be reassessed if any direct or indirect owner of the property in question also has a direct or indirect ownership interest in other commercial or industrial property with an aggregate of $3 million.
  • There is NO exemption for “small businesses” in the reassessment provision of Prop 15.
  • Small businesses are given a very narrow definition in Prop 15 and must meet all three criteria below to receive the full personal property tax exemption or delay reassessment to 2025-26 if 50% or more of the occupied square footage is in use by a “small business”:
    1. Have fewer than 50 full-time employees
    2. Be independently owned and operated
    3. Own real property in California

Read how Prop 15 hurts small businesses for yourself here.


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.


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.


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.