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Proposition 13 would provide billions for public schools but could also bring property tax increases

RAYMOND CREE
Raymond Cree Middle School (Courtesy of PSUSD)

Proposition 13, put on the ballot by the California Assembly, would authorize the state to borrow $15 billion to spend on the state's public schools.

According to the Voter Information Guide, the interest on the bond measure would total $11 billion, for a total taxpayer-funded spending package of $26 billion.

The money raised would go toward public education facilities, including pre-schools, K-12, money for charter schools and career education.

$6 billion would go to public universities and community colleges.

"I think we need to upgrade our buildings. Our buildings are starting to get really old. We need modernized buildings," said College of the Desert student Kaitlyn Cabansag.

The bond would also fund health and safety improvements on existing campuses, including earthquake and fire safety and removing lead from water.

Valley Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia supported the assembly bill to get Proposition 13 on the ballot.

He says the money raised would only "put a small dent" in the $120 billion in deferred maintenance" already requiring attention at all public school campuses in the state.

"Modernizing our schools means making sure we have all of the safety precautions built into our schools, to protect our children when they are there," said Garcia.

Among those who oppose Proposition 13 is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which contends if the measure is approved, property taxes would go up.

That's because Proposition 13 would also allow individual school districts to increase their debt limits by more than 60 percent when asking their voters to approve local bond measures which are repaid by property taxes.

"When voters take a look at Proposition 13, they need to think about not only the impact in terms of debt on the state level but it also leaves homeowners terribly exposed to additional property tax liability," said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Since 1998, California voters have approved a total of five propositions .. generating a total of nearly $54 billion in bond funding for spending on the state's public school facilities.

That total does not include interest on the loans.

"They're taxing us to the hilt, and they don't improve what they say they're going to improve," said Morongo Valley voter Jeannie May, while speaking against the proposition.

In a scientific poll conducted by our sister station, KGTV in San Diego, 51 percent of voters said they intend to vote "yes" for the proposition.

32 percent will vote "no".

17 percent are "unsure".

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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