California Proposition 15, Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative (2020)

California Proposition 15, the Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative, is on the ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.

A “yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value, rather than their purchase price.
A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus continuing to tax commercial and industrial properties based on a property’s purchase price, with annual increases equal to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower.

Overview

What would Proposition 15 change about how properties are taxed in California?

Proposition 15 would amend the California State Constitution to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value. In California, the proposal to assess taxes on commercial and industrial properties at market value, while continuing to assess taxes on residential properties based on the purchase price, is known as split roll. The change from the purchase price to market value would be phased-in beginning in fiscal year 2022-2023. Properties, such as retail centers, whose occupants are 50 percent or more small businesses would be taxed based on market value beginning in fiscal year 2025-2026 (or at a later date that the legislature decides on). Proposition 15 would define small businesses as those that that are independently owned and operated, own California property, and have 50 or fewer employees.

The ballot initiative would make an exception for properties whose business owners have $3.00 million or less in holdings in California; these properties would continue to be taxed based on their purchase price. The ballot initiative would exempt a small business’s tangible personal property from taxes and $500,000 in value for a non-small business’s tangible personal property.[1]

The state fiscal analyst estimated that, upon full implementation, the ballot initiative would generate between $8 billion and $12.5 billion in revenue per year.[2]

Proposition 15 would make the California State Legislature responsible for passing laws for a phase-in of the market value-based tax on commercial and industrial properties, how often reassessments would occur (no less than three years between reassessments), and an appeals process for challenging reassessments.[1]

Where did the current tax assessment formula, based on purchase price, come from?

See also: California Proposition 13 (1978)

In 1978, Californians approved Proposition 13, which required that residential, commercial, and industrial properties are taxed based on their purchase price. The tax is limited to no more than 1 percent of the purchase price (at the time of purchase), with an annual adjustment equal to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower. According to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, market values in California tend to increase faster than 2 percent per year, meaning the taxable value of commercial and industrial properties is often lower than the market value.[2]

How would revenue from the change in taxation be distributed?

Proposition 15 would create a process in the state constitution for distributing revenue from the revised tax on commercial and industrial properties. The ballot initiative would distribute the revenue to specific areas, rather than the General Fund. First, the revenue would be distributed to (a) the state to supplement decreases in revenue from the state’s personal income tax and corporation tax due to increased tax deductions and (b) counties to cover the costs of implementing the measure. Second, 60 percent of the remaining funds would be distributed to local governments and special districts, and 40 percent would be distributed to school districts and community colleges (via a new Local School and Community College Property Tax Fund). Revenue appropriated for education would be divided as follows: 11% for community colleges and 89% for public schools, charter schools, and county education offices. There would also be a requirement that schools and colleges receive an annual minimum of $100 (adjusted each year) per full-time student.[1][2]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title is as follows:[3]

Increases Funding for Public Schools, Community Colleges, and Local Government Services by Changing Tax Assessment of Commercial and Industrial Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.[4]

Ballot summary

The ballot summary is as follows:[3]

  • Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real property be taxed based on current market value, instead of purchase price.
  • Exempts from taxation changes: residential properties; agricultural land; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less.
  • Any additional educational funding will supplement existing school funding guarantees.
  • Exempts small businesses from personal property tax; for other businesses, provides $500,000 exemption.[4]

Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal impact statement is as follows:[3]

Increased property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million providing $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion in new funding to local governments and schools.[4]

Constitutional changes

See also: California Constitution

The ballot initiative would add Section 8.7 to Article XVI, Section 8.6 to Article XVI, Section 2.5 to Article XIII A, Section 3.1 to Article XIII, and Section 15 to Article XIII B of the California Constitution.[1]

Full text

The full text of the ballot initiative is below:[1]

Support

CA Schools & Communities First logo 2018.jpg

Schools and Communities First, also known as Yes on 15, is leading the campaign in support of the ballot initiative.[5] The campaign named the ballot initiative the Schools and Local Communities Funding Act.[1]

Supporters

The following is a selection of individuals and organizations that endorsed the ballot initiative.[6] Schools and Communities First provided a list of supporters, which is available here.

 

Officials

Former Officials

Political Parties

Government Entities

  • Oakland Unified School District [Source]
  • Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors [Source]
  • Los Angeles Unified School District [Source]
  • Oakland City Council [Source]
  • Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors [Source]
  • San Francisco Board of Supervisors [Source]
  • Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors [Source]

Individuals

  • Dolores Huerta – Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers [Source]

Unions

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees [Source]
  • American Federation of Teachers [Source]
  • California Federation of Teachers [Source]
  • California Nurses Association [Source]
  • Unite HERE International Union California State Council [Source]
  • United Teachers of Los Angeles [Source]

Organizations

  • ACLU of Northern California [Source]
  • ACLU of Southern California [Source]
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment [Source]
  • California Alliance for Retired Americans [Source]
  • California League of Conservation Voters [Source]
  • Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy [Source]
  • Consumer Federation of California [Source]
  • Equality California [Source]
  • League of Women Voters of California [Source]
  • Parent Teachers Association of California [Source]
  • San Francisco Unified School District [Source]
  • Sierra Club California [Source]

Arguments

 

  • Ben Grieff, campaign director of Evolve California: “Chevron is getting the same deal as Grandma. That doesn’t make any sense.” [Source]
  • Josh Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers: “We’re asking for companies like Disneyland or Universal Studios that make huge amounts of money to pay property taxes based on fair market value—the same thing that homeowners and, frankly, most businesses have to do.” [Source]
  • Alex Stack, communications director for Schools and Communities First: “We’re really talking about a fraction of top corporations in the state that have benefited for decades from egregiously low property tax rates, assessments from the 1970s” [Source]
  • Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation: “Closing the commercial property tax loophole is important to our state and to our Bay Area region. It is our opportunity to effect positive change by restoring more than $11 billion a year to our schools and vital community services without raising taxes on homeowners, renters and small businesses.” [Source]
  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D): “When I look at our dire budget deficits over the next couple of years, and then I see these revenue estimates showing how much we can invest in our community without having to raise any taxes on residents, it makes it more important for me to give my full support on this initiative.” [Source]
  • Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers: “Most important, Schools and Communities First is designed specifically to help address inequities that poorer school districts face, which has significant implications for communities of color. Every single student in California will benefit from this measure, but particular importance is paid to underserved communities — additional funding will go toward low-income students, English-learners and foster youth. This, on top of the increased investments that local governments can make in their communities, will go a long way toward supporting our communities most in need.” [Source]
  • Jacques Leslie, a contributing opinion writer for the Los Angeles Times: “Its creators could have had no advance knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic. But COVID-19’s crippling of the state’s economy has underlined the importance of the initiative. … This limited reform could generate proceeds as high as $12.4 billion a year, according to a February study by three USC researchers. … Because of COVID-19, California is facing a $54-billion budget deficit over the next year. State revenues are expected to drop by a staggering $41.2 billion compared with a pre-coronavirus projection in January.” [Source]
  • Walter Wilson and Reginald Swilley, business owners in the Minority Business Consortium: “At the Minority Business Consortium, we have seen how COVID-19 has hit the small, local, minority- and women-owned businesses that are vital to the fabric of our communities. Eighty percent of all jobs come from small businesses. For these firms, Proposition 15 provides much-needed relief. It includes a $1 billion tax cut on business personal property taxes, which would primarily help small businesses. It would completely exempt small firms whose property is worth $3 million or less, which account for at least 90% of commercial properties in the entire state. And by closing loopholes used by big corporations, it would level the playing field for small companies.” [Source]

Opposition

California No on Prop 15 2020.png

Stop Higher Property Taxes and Save Prop 13, also known as No on Prop 15, is leading the campaign in opposition to the ballot initiative.[7]

Opponents

Stop Higher Property Taxes and Save Prop 13 provides a list of opponents, which is available here.

Organizations

 

Officials

Organizations

  • AMVETS, Department of California [Source]
  • American Legion, Department of California [Source]
  • California Black Chamber of Commerce [Source]
  • California Business Roundtable [Source]
  • California Chamber of Commerce [Source]
  • California Farm Bureau Federation [Source]
  • California Grocers Association [Source]
  • California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce [Source]
  • California NAACP State Conference [Source]
  • California Restaurants Association [Source]
  • California Small Business Association [Source]
  • California State National Action Network [Source]
  • California Taxpayers Association [Source]
  • National Federation of Independent Business – California [Source]
  • Southern California Leadership Council [Source]
  • Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association [Source]

Arguments

 

  • Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: “This is yet another attack on the longstanding taxpayer protections in Prop. 13. Special interests continue to push for new and higher taxes to pay for their out-of-control pensions, which have already directed existing tax revenue away from classrooms and other state priorities.” [Source]
  • Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable: “We are going to have the largest tax increase in California history at exactly the wrong time in our economy to be able to afford it.” [Source]
  • Rex Hime, president of the California Business Properties Association: “California already has the worst climate for business and job creation in the country. A split-roll property tax will just increase pressure on many businesses that are already finding it hard to make ends meet.” [Source]
  • Tom Campbell, state Director of Finance from 2005 to 2006: “From the point of view of attracting and retaining businesses and jobs, the power of Prop. 13, rather, was in allowing California to tell a business: go ahead and sink that concrete into Texas if you want, but you’re taking a big risk that Texas won’t revisit that building a few years later and double your tax assessment. With California, you’re safe. … In repealing Proposition 13 for businesses, California will be forfeiting our best argument to attract new jobs – a long-term sacrifice that will hollow-out California’s economy, costing us far more $10 billion in a very short time.” [Source]
  • Ted Gaines (R), a member of the California State Board of Equalization Member: “Agriculture is a $50 billion industry in California that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs. Around 90 percent of California farms are still family owned. The industry, as with so many others, is straining from the shocking and unforeseen effects of coronavirus. This massive jolt in tax costs could be the blow that leads to mass sales and closures of family farms and destroy legacies that stretch back more than a century. California is blessed with some of the world’s best farmland but it’s cursed by some of the worst public policy. Prop. 15 would only make it harder and more expensive for agriculture to flourish in our state.” [Source]

Campaign finance

See also: Campaign finance requirements for California ballot measures
The campaign finance information on this page reflects the most recently scheduled reports processed by Ballotpedia, which covered through June 30, 2020. The deadline for the next scheduled reports is September 24, 2020.

 

The Schools and Communities First PAC and allied committees registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the committees had raised $20.81 million, including $6.00 million from the California Teachers Association Issues PAC.[8]

Four PACs, including Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the committees had raised $5.51 million, including $266,490 from the California Business Roundtable Issues PAC.[8]

 

Cash Contributions In-Kind Contributions Total Contributions Cash Expenditures Total Expenditures
Support $20,373,034.43 $434,854.17 $20,807,888.60 $15,404,446.60 $15,839,300.77
Oppose $5,350,536.80 $163,990.19 $5,514,526.99 $2,967,567.36 $3,131,557.55

Support

The following table includes contribution and expenditure totals for the committees in support of the initiative.[8]

 

Committees in support of Proposition 15
Committee Cash Contributions In-Kind Contributions Total Contributions Cash Expenditures Total Expenditures
Yes on 15 – Schools and Communities First $17,982,126.35 $424,854.17 $18,406,980.52 $13,804,460.41 $14,229,314.58
Million Voter Project Action Fund – Yes on 15 $2,374,908.08 $0.00 $2,374,908.08 $1,592,469.97 $1,592,469.97
PICO California Action Supporting Schools and Communities First $16,000.00 $10,000.00 $26,000.00 $7,516.22 $17,516.22
Total $20,373,034.43 $434,854.17 $20,807,888.60 $15,404,446.60 $15,839,300.77

Donors

The following were the top five donors who contributed to the support committees.[8]

Donor Cash Contributions In-Kind Contributions Total Contributions
California Teachers Association Issues PAC $6,000,000.00 $1,552.50 $6,001,552.50
SEIU California State Council $3,500,000.00 $19,467.00 $3,519,467.00
Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy $2,615,000.00 $0.00 $2,615,000.00
The San Francisco Foundation $1,066,300.00 $0.00 $1,066,300.00
California Federation of Teachers COPE PROP/Ballot Committee $625,000.00 $12,190.00 $637,190.00

Opposition

The following table includes contribution and expenditure totals for the committees in opposition to the initiative.[8]

 

Committees in opposition to Proposition 15
Committee Cash Contributions In-Kind Contributions Total Contributions Cash Expenditures Total Expenditures
No on Prop 15 – Stop Higher Property Taxes and Save Prop 13 $3,126,680.00 $163,990.19 $3,290,670.19 $2,260,510.32 $2,424,500.51
Protect Prop. 13, No on 15 $2,161,856.80 $0.00 $2,161,856.80 $693,518.53 $693,518.53
Stop Higher Taxes Committee $36,000.00 $0.00 $36,000.00 $128.40 $128.40
Family Farmers Against Prop 15 – Stop Higher Food Taxes $26,000.00 $0.00 $26,000.00 $13,410.11 $13,410.11
Total $5,350,536.80 $163,990.19 $5,514,526.99 $2,967,567.36 $3,131,557.55

Donors

The following were the top five donors who contributed to the opposition committees.[8]

Donor Cash Contributions In-Kind Contributions Total Contributions
California Business Roundtable Issues PAC $102,500.00 $163,990.19 $266,490.19
Long Point Development, LLC (Terranea Resort) $250,000.00 $0.00 $250,000.00
Vornado Realty Trust $250,000.00 $0.00 $250,000.00
Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association Issues PAC $200,000.00 $0.00 $200,000.00
California Taxpayers Association – Protect Taxpayer Rights $139,000.00 $0.00 $139,000.00

Media editorials

Ballotpedia identified the following media editorial boards as taking positions on the ballot initiative. If you are aware of a media editorial board position that is not listed below, please email the editorial link to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Support

Ballotpedia had not identified media editorial boards in support of the ballot initiative.

Opposition

The following media editorial boards published an editorial opposing the ballot measure:

  • The Bakersfield Californian Editorial Board: “But as all businesses – including Chevron – are reeling from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic that are expected to drag into the next decade, making such a fundamental change in the property tax system at the ballot box during these chaotic times will have unexpected and possibly dire consequences. Proposition 15 is a far-reaching reform presented at the wrong time. The Legislature should look for ways to close loopholes – such as the corporate loophole – rather than asking voters to approve a massive change to a popular property tax law during the chaos of a pandemic.” [Source]
  • The Orange County Register Editorial Board: “Proposition 15 does not raise residential property taxes, but if voters signal that Proposition 13 no longer is sacrosanct, it might not be long before tax-hike supporters come after those protections, too. The measure’s supporters dismiss that possibility, but the foundation of their argument is that Proposition 13 is fundamentally unfair in the way that it assesses a higher rate on newer owners than older ones. Consider yourself warned.” [Source]

Polls

See also: 2020 ballot measure polls
[hide]California Proposition 15, Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative (2020)
Poll Support Oppose Undecided Margin of error Sample size
PPIC (likely voters)
4/1/2020 – 4/9/2020
53.0% 47.0% 1.0% +/-3.7 1,091
PPIC (likely voters)
11/3/2019 – 11/12/2019
46.0% 45.0% 9.0% +/-4.3 1,008
PPIC (likely voters)
9/16/2019 – 9/25/2019
47.0% 45.0% 8.0% +/-4.2 1,031
PPIC (likely voters)
4/5/2019 – 4/15/2019
54.0% 45.0% 1.0% +/-4.0 1,035
PPIC (likely voters)
1/20/2019 – 1/29/2019
49.0% 43.0% 8.0% +/-4.0 1,154
PPIC (likely voters)
10/27/2018 – 11/5/2018
56.0% 40.0% 4.0% +/-4.4 1,095
USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times (eligible voters)
9/17/2018 – 10/14/2018
46.0% 22.0% 31.0% +/-4.0 794
PPIC (likely voters)
3/25/2018 – 4/03/2018
53.0% 42.0% 5.0% +/-4.4 867
AVERAGES 50.5% 41.13% 8.38% +/-4.13 1,009.38
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

 

 

Background

California Proposition 13 (1978)

Cover of Time on June 19, 1978, featuring Howard Jarvis

See also: California Proposition 13, Tax Limitations Initiative (1978)

California Proposition 13, the Tax Limitations Initiative, was on the ballot for the election on June 6, 1978. Voters approved Proposition 13, with 65 percent voting for passage.[9][10] Howard Jarvis, who founded the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, developed Proposition 13. He also worked with Paul Gann on writing the ballot initiative.[11][12]

Proposition 13 required that properties be taxed at no more than 1 percent of their full cash value shown on the 1975-1976 assessment rolls and limited annual increases of assessed (taxable) value to the inflation rate or 2 percent, whichever was less. When a property is sold to new owners, however, the property is reassessed at 1 percent of its full cash value at the time of purchase and the limit on increases to assessed value resets.[9]

Proposition 13 was the beginning of a period in state politics referred to as the tax revolt.[13][14][15] Joel Fox, editor of Fox & Hounds, said Proposition 13 was the “Holy Grail of the tax revolt.”[16] The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association described Proposition 13 as “a California tax cut with a national identity,” stating, “The tax cut message rolled across the country after Proposition 13 passed. Some say it was the spark that ignited a conflagration, which culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency.”[17]

In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown stated that he would not seek to change Proposition 13, saying that the initiative was “sacred doctrine that should never be questioned.” Gov. Brown, who was also governor in 1978, said that he should have funded a campaign for an alternative to Proposition 13.[18] In 2017, Jennifer Ito, a research director at the University of Southern California, said, “It’s been an issue that no politician wants to touch. Until recently.”[19] In October 2018, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association president Jon Coupal said, “This is not the California of 1978. It has become more progressive.” However, he added, Proposition 13 “[is] withstanding the test of time, no matter what anyone says.”[20]

Tax policies on the ballot in 2020

See also: Taxes on the ballot

In 2020, voters in 12 states will vote on 19 ballot measures addressing tax-related policies. Ten of the measures addressed taxes on properties, three were related to income tax rates, two addressed tobacco taxes, one addressed business-related taxes, one addressed sales tax rates, one addressed fees and surcharges, and one was related to tax-increment financing (TIF).

Click Show to read details about the tax-related measures on statewide ballots in 2020.

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements and Laws governing the initiative process in California

Process in California

In California, the number of signatures required for an initiated constitutional amendment is equal to 8 percent of the votes cast in the preceding gubernatorial election. Petitions are allowed to circulate for 180 days from the date the attorney general prepares the petition language. Signatures need to be certified at least 131 days before the general election. As the verification process can take multiple months, the secretary of state provides suggested deadlines for ballot initiatives.

The requirements to get initiated constitutional amendments certified for the 2020 ballot:

  • Signatures: 997,139 valid signatures were required.
  • Deadline: The deadline for signature verification was June 25, 2020. However, the process of verifying signatures can take multiple months. The recommended deadlines were March 3, 2020, for an initiative requiring a full check of signatures and April 21, 2020, for an initiative requring a random sample of signatures.

Signatures are first filed with local election officials, who determine the total number of signatures submitted. If the total number is equal to at least 100 percent of the required signatures, then local election officials perform a random check of signatures submitted in their counties. If the random sample estimates that more than 110 percent of the required number of signatures are valid, the initiative is eligible for the ballot. If the random sample estimates that between 95 and 110 percent of the required number of signatures are valid, a full check of signatures is done to determine the total number of valid signatures. If less than 95 percent are estimated to be valid, the initiative does not make the ballot.

Certification of two versions

The first version of the ballot initiative (17-0055) qualified for the ballot on October 15, 2018. On August 13, 2019, the campaign Schools and Communities First, which is behind the proposal, announced that signatures would be collected for a revised version of the ballot initiative (19-0008).[39] Tyler Law, a campaign spokesperson, said that the campaign would not withdraw the qualified initiative from the ballot until the revised initiative qualifies. Law said, “The committee’s got the money. We’re going to get it on the ballot.”[40] On April 2, 2020, the campaign Schools and Communities First reported filing 1.75 million signatures.[41] At least 997,139 (57.02 percent) of the signatures needed to be valid. On May 22, 2020, the office of Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that a random sample of signatures projected that 74.60 percent were valid. Therefore, the second version of the ballot initiative (19-0008) qualified to appear on the ballot at the general election. On June 23, the state department announced that the first version (17-0055) was withdrawn.

Stages of Initiative #17-0055

On December 15, 2017, Helen Hutchison, Benjamin McBride, and Anthony Thigpenn filed the ballot initiative with the attorney general’s office. On February 20, 2018, Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) issued ballot language for the initiative, allowing proponents to collect signatures. Proponents had until August 20, 2018, to file 585,407 valid signatures.

Sponsors filed the ballot initiative with the intent to get the initiative on the ballot for the election on November 6, 2018. On April 6, 2018, however, sponsors announced that the initiative would be delayed until 2020. Melissa Breach, executive director of the League of Women Voters of California, said, “In moving it we have the benefit to spend a little less because the cost to qualify will be significantly less. And then the benefit is we get this additional two years to do the work with the voters.”[42]

On August 14, the campaign backing the ballot initiative filed 855,623 signatures.[43] On October 15, 2018, counties concluded a random sample of signatures, projecting that 661,306 signatures (77.29 percent) were valid, and the initiative was certified to appear on the ballot.[44] On June 23, 2020, the state department announced that this version (17-0055) of the initiative was withdrawn.

The campaign hired Kimball Petition Management, Inc. to collect signatures for Initiative #17-0055 to qualify the measure for the ballot. A total of $3,490,600.39 was spent to collect the 585,407 valid signatures required to put this measure before voters, resulting in a total cost per required signature (CPRS) of $5.96.

Stages of Initiative #19-0008

Anthony Thigpenn, Benjamin Mcbride, and Carol Moon Goldberg filed this initiative on August 13, 2019.[45] On October 17, 2019, Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) released ballot language for the initiative, allowing the campaign to begin gathering signatures. The deadline to file signatures for the initiative was April 14, 2020.

On December 6, 2019, proponents announced that the number of collected signatures surpassed the 25-percent threshold (249,285 signatures) to require legislative hearings on the ballot initiative. In 2014, Senate Bill 1253 was enacted into law, which required the legislature to assign ballot initiatives that meet the 25-percent threshold to committees to hold joint public hearings on the initiatives not later than 131 days before the election.

On April 2, 2020, the campaign Schools and Communities First filed 1,748,647 signatures. At least 997,139 (57.02 percent) of the signatures needed to be valid. On May 22, 2020, the office of Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that a random sample of signatures projected that 74.60 percent were valid. Therefore, the ballot initiative qualified to appear on the ballot at the general election.[46]

Cost of signature collection:
Sponsors of the measure hired 2020 Ballcamp to collect signatures for the petition to qualify this measure for the ballot. A total of $5,986,312.94 was spent to collect the 997,139 valid signatures required to put this measure before voters, resulting in a total cost per required signature (CPRS) of $6.00.

Comparisons of Initiatives #17-0055 and #19-0008

Language

The following is a comparison of the petition titles, petition summaries, and fiscal analyses for both versions of the ballot initiative.[3]

Click Show to expand the table.

Provisions

The following is a comparison of some of the proposals’ differing provisions:[1][47]

Click Show to expand the table.

Coupal v. Padilla

Lawsuit overview
Issue: Is the ballot title for Proposition 15 false, misleading, and prejudice?
CourtCalifornia Third District Court of Appeal (Appealed from the Sacramento County Superior Court)
Ruling: Sacramento County Superior Court ruled in favor of Padilla and Becerra, stating that the ballot title is not false, misleading, or inaccurate
Plaintiff(s): Jon Coupal Defendant(s): Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Source: Sacramento County Superior Court

On July 29, 2020, Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, sued Secretary of State Alex Padilla in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Coupal argued that the ballot language for Proposition 15, as drafted by Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), was false, misleading, and prejudice. Coupal stated, “This blatant manipulation of the ballot label, as well as the title and summary, is in direct contravention of the Attorney General’s fiduciary duty to prepare impartial ballot material.”[48]

On August 6, 2020, Judge Laurie M. Earl issued a tentative ruling in favor of Padilla and Becerra, writing, “… the Court is not convinced that the current title is false or misleading.”[49]

On August 6, 2020, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association announced that the superior court’s ruling would be appealed to the California Third District Court of Appeal.[50]

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