Gov. Gavin Newsom’s image-building efforts of late make him appear wizened and independent-minded, but his recent backing of the split-roll initiative reveals the shopworn tendencies we’ve come to expect from the establishment.

To be clear: Proposition 15 is no more about addressing unfair benefits for wealthy corporations than it is about helping to educate little kids.

This is a straight confiscation bankrolled by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, his wife Priscilla Chan and the California Teachers Association, the state’s largest union lobby. Politico reports these supporters have cobbled together $44 million to campaign for their naked greed, compared with $17 million for foes. It’s a small price to pay to firm up that debt-ridden teachers union pension.

Most important, Proposition 15 should be seen as an effort by the political class to begin chopping down Proposition 13, the landmark voter-approved measure from 1978 that prevented government from using ever-higher property valuations to jack up taxes to finance lawmakers’ whims. This is the undercurrent of Prop. 15, one ignored only by the most obtuse or disingenuous people in public debate.

In announcing his backing for Prop. 15 Newsom said he’d veto other tax increases proposed by unions and legislators. That’s courageous. None of those other proposals passed the just-finished session. There’s nothing to veto.

After lengthy equivocation about Prop. 15, Newsom says he backs it now because, “It’s consistent with California’s progressive fiscal values.”

Evidently, “progressive fiscal values” means that if you make money, the government will take it from you, then proceed to mismanage that money and indulge and overpromise public-sector unions. Then, when the money runs out or the government overextends itself, demagogue politically convenient but lucrative targets to extract even more money. Rinse and repeat.

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The Legislative Analyst’s Office says that under Prop. 15, beginning in 2025, total property taxes from commercial land and buildings probably would be $8 billion to $12.5 billion higher in most years.

Newsom and his allies say it’s really just taking money from those bigger businesses with $3 million or more in property to tax, but lots of smaller businesses rent space from bigger businesses and their rents will go up. That means products or services you buy from any businesses, large or small, will be more expensive.

The LAO says that although the figures differ slightly by county, about 60 percent of property taxes go to cities, counties and special districts; the other 40 percent goes to schools and community colleges.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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