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re: Schools and Communities First

Assembly Joint Informational Hearing on Initiative #1870

Honorable Autumn Burke, Chair, Committee on Revenue and Taxation

June 3, 2020

Dear Assemblymember Burke:

Santa Monica Forward is strongly in support of the Schools & Communities First Initiative. As a progressive community organization dedicated to equity, transparency, and civil public discourse, we reviewed the proposed initiative and found it to be in alignment with our values and goals.

Schools & Communities First would close corporate property tax loopholes to reclaim investments for local governments, public schools, and essential workers. Even before this pandemic, our public institutions were suffering from almost 40 years of underfunding. In Santa Monica, as in many cities, the gap between those with privilege and those without is marked. In the past few years, and with concerted effort and dedication, we have made some strides toward acknowledging and closing that gap. We are at the legal limit of our ability to tax sales, and we have a significant parcel tax for schools, in addition to multiple bonds for K-12 and our community college.

We have needed the kind of reform that Schools & Communities First provides for many years. We can’t let another generation suffer from the unfair tax policy of the 1970s.

A study by the University of Southern California showed that 78% of the revenue generated by Schools & Communities First would be generated by only 6% of commercial and industrial properties. Large commercial property owners have found ways to avoid property tax increases over the years, while homeowners, renters, and small businesses continue to experience tax hikes.

We urge you to support Schools & Communities First when it is considered by the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee this week.

Very truly yours,

Abby Arnold Carl Hansen

Co-chair, Santa Monica Forward Co-chair, Santa Monica Forward

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