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Prop 15: Billions in tax revenues for California schools and local governments in question

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Randy Ernst owns Pro-Tech Mats Industries in Thousand Palms.

Also owning the building, he is among business owners and property owners watching the returns on Prop 15 with great interest.

That's because his cost of doing business is expected to go up if 15 passes.

"I think they should get that tax money elsewhere. It's going to make it real hard on California businesses," said Ernst.

Prop 15, if approved would allow counties to tax commercial and industrial buildings at their current market value, rather than the value at the time the property was purchased.

Tax revenues raised would go to cash-strapped schools and local governments.

While supportive of education, Ernst says doing business in California is already costly enough and hopes 15 doesn't pass.

"If they did pass the bill, I'm not saying we will go out and raise our prices, but we'll have to find out how its impacts us." said Ernst.

If 15 passes, the tax revenue for the state of California would be significant, ranging anywhere from $8 billion to $12.5 billion a year.

Prop 15 enjoys strong support from a long list of unions, including state teacher's unions, the state democratic party and the ACLU.

Educators contend the funding is necessary to maintain the state's education budget.

Jon Coupal, The President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says if 15 is defeated, the vote would reaffirm the vote by Californians in 1978 approving Prop 13, which limits annual property tax increases.

"It represents the largest property tax increase in the history of California and I don't think people, whether democrat or republican, I don't think this is a partisan issue," said Coupal.

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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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