This election, California voters have the opportunity to reclaim billions of dollars for critical housing, education, and health care services in our communities — all without raising taxes for homeowners, renters, or small business owners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated ongoing challenges facing our communities, and it will take creativity and collaboration to keep all of us healthy and safe as we prepare for the long road of recovery. That’s why we support Proposition 15.
Proposition 15 would bring up to $19.6 million each year to Mountain View alone, funds that help build new housing at all income levels in our community. In the face of a worsening housing crisis that has pushed many to the brink of homelessness, Prop 15 would provide critical funds for expanding rental assistance and homelessness prevention services. It would also bring over $900,000 annually to Mountain View public school districts to better equip our schools to ensure a high-quality education for all children, and $270 million for Santa Clara County to support critical health care and emergency response services that we all rely on.
Proposition 15 also protects those who have been hardest hit by the economic crisis. It will not raise taxes for renters, homeowners, or small businesses. All residential and agricultural property, and small businesses that own less than $3 million in property, are exempt. A recent economic analysis from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Beacon Economics found that small businesses who rent are also protected, as rents are determined primarily by market factors like a building’s age, size, and location - rather than by property taxes. The study also found that Proposition 15 would result in a tax cut to most small businesses by eliminating taxes on $500,000 worth of equipment like computers, restaurant kitchens, and serving counters.
Mountain View residents are facing the overlapping stressors of keeping our loved ones safe, paying the bills, staying safely housed, and supporting our children as we adjust to remote schooling from home. In the coming months and years, it will be more important than ever to invest in public schools so we can create enriching learning environments for all, regardless of income. This includes smaller class sizes in K-12 schools and community colleges, improved school facilities, and adequate support for teachers and families so young people can learn safely and effectively - whether in person or online.
As Election Day approaches, we urge our community to consider the future we want to build together in Mountain View. If we are to continue our legacy as a diverse and inclusive city, we have to invest in the well-being of our families, neighborhoods, and schools so that more of our community members can stay here for the long term. Vote yes on 15 for a healthy California and an inclusive Mountain View.
Lucas Ramirez is a Mountain View City Council member, and Ellen Kamei is the vice mayor of Mountain View.