News

Guest opinion: Yes on Prop 15 for a healthy California and an inclusive Mountain View

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.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

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.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Guest opinion: Yes on Prop 15 for a healthy California and an inclusive Mountain View

by / Contributor

Uploaded: Sun, Nov 1, 2020, 3:06 pm

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.

Comments

Jeremy Hoffman
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Nov 1, 2020 at 10:01 pm
Jeremy Hoffman, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2020 at 10:01 pm

Thank you, council members. Absolutely vote yes on Prop 15.

Since Prop 13 was passed in 1978, 45% of the portion of property tax revenue coming from commercial dropped form 45% to 28%. The rest of us have had to make up the lost revenue with residential property taxes, parcel taxes, and sales taxes.

Why would we give a special tax cut to the oldest richest corporate landowners like the Walt Disney Company, Hilton, and Shell Oil?! It's long past time for these companies to pay the same fair tax rate as anyone who buys a new home or commercial property.

Vote yes on Prop 15!


Thomas
Registered user
Whisman Station
on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:18 am
Thomas, Whisman Station
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:18 am

But how will politicians spend the increased property tax revenue? Higher public employee salaries, benefits and pensions? See TransparentCalifornia.com


Mark
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:55 am
Mark, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 12:55 am

Prop 15 is a horrible idea.

Think about every small business, like the former Milk Pail, or any other small shop. You will be raising taxes on these small businesses where they will be forced to go out of business, or have to drastically raise their prices on goods and services. This effects almost every business, from the plumber, painters, carpet stores, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, hardware store, etc.

The consumer in the end, ultimately will have to pay for this tax increase one way or another.

I voted NO on Prop. 15


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:05 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:05 am

In response to Mark that wrote:

“Prop 15 is a horrible idea.

Think about every small business, like the former Milk Pail, or any other small shop.”

Their taxes were artificially too low given the amount of public cost regarding their operations. Their business operations put more wear and tear on the public streets, they use more resources regarding water and sewage proportionately, they require 24-hour security regarding the police, they use the courts for legal enforcement more than the average homeowner does, just to state some of them. You wrote:

“You will be raising taxes on these small businesses where they will be forced to go out of business, or have to drastically raise their prices on goods and services.”

This is just a story to use by people like yourself to try to make it look like the businesses are NOT being treated fairly. They have actually gotten away with paying significantly lower taxes to the state for too long. If you want, I will bring up the numbers again in a follow up posting, but I will not do it yet to keep this post shorter. So, when you wrote:

“This effects almost every business, from the plumber, painters, carpet stores, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, hardware store, etc.”

They all have been given an artificially lower tax burden in proportion to the homeowners and the renters who live in apartments and you know it. As far as:

“The consumer in the end, ultimately will have to pay for this tax increase one way or another.”

Not if there is NO PRICE ELASTICITY in the product or service of their market. If the business tries to raise prices like you say, the customers will find others that will provide the same goods or services at the RIGHT prices. Thus, those business will sell less or do less business. Unless you are claiming that the providers have some kind of artificially higher CONTROL regarding the market, say like price fixing or gouging?


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2020 at 10:57 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 10:57 am

Mark, and to all interested:

in a recent report from CalMatters of the proportion of commercial property taxes versus residential property taxes collected can be found here (Web Link The graph indicates that 70% of property taxes are residential. CalMatters is a non-partisan non profit collection of news journalists.

The California Legislative Analyst’s seen here (Web Link office also shows only 1 third the property taxes collected in the state are Commercial properties and not Residential, even though in some cases more than 50% of the usable land in the state IS COMMERCIAL.

The 2015 breakdown of property taxes were $20.9B for Primary Residence Property, $20.7B for Rental and Vacation Property, $11.7 for Commercial/Industrial, and $5.5B for other. That means the share of property taxes are 36% for Primary Residences, 35% of Rental or Vacation Residences, 20% is Commercial /Industrial, and 9% other

WE can easily estimate that as much as 20% of usable land is Primary Residence, 20% is Rental or Vacation land, 35% of usable land is Commercial/Industrial ,and 10% is used by Governmental or Public use and the rest is unusable. Now to normalize this because the total usable land use comes to 85% then these parity rates should be 23.5% for Primary Residences, 23.5% for Rental or Vacation Residences, 40.1% for Commercial/Industrial, and 11% for other land use

If the taxes were in parity, the property tax revenue should drop from 36% to 23.50%s for Primary Residence, from 35% to 23.5% for Rentals and Vacation, from 20 to 40.1% for Commercial/Industrial and 9 to 11% for other.

Since Prop 15 will start this off, it looks like Primary Residences and Rental or Vacation Residences will see a significant drop in taxes. That would likely offset any cost increases that the commercial sector wants to pass through to the customers.

Simply put it is time to pass Prop 15


Sam
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Sam, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:17 pm

The opinion says prop 15 will reclaim monies. This verbiage presupposes that all money belongs to the government. Its not true that any money not currently confiscated by the government is the result of a “loophole” or some other form of unfairness.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2020 at 3:44 pm

In response to Sam you wrote:

“The opinion says prop 15 will reclaim monies.”

That not what was said and you know it, it was saying that the uneven collection of property tax revnuse is the problem You wrote:

“This verbiage presupposes that all money belongs to the government.”

Again, WRONG, but it is true that taxation is state sponsored redistribution of wealth. Which has long been a constitutional and understood necessity to fund all the public services the government performs in order to maintain our safety and due process of life. You wrote:

“Its not true that any money not currently confiscated by the government is the result of a “loophole” or some other form of unfairness.”

It is not confiscated, if the business doesn’t want to pay the property taxes in the state of California, they can close and move and never come back. It is a voluntary action as long as you want to operate here. The same rules can and do apply everywhere else in some variations.

Obviously you are a member of the “TEA” party. But so far the proof is in the history, the commercial property taxes have gotten away with skirting the reassessment of their property values under prop 13, and hopefully prop 15 will fix it.


Santa Rita Mom
Registered user
The Crossings
on Nov 3, 2020 at 11:23 am
Santa Rita Mom, The Crossings
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2020 at 11:23 am

If this terrible proposition passes, I don't want to hear one peep from anyone who supported it about how we no longer have any small businesses in town.

If this passes, their taxes go up, which means their margins go way down. They will pass the price on to you, the people who voted for it. You will mad that you have to pay more and then will buy from big box stores or on line. Then they will go out of business. The people who owned those businesses will move away and their employees will be out of work.

Typical of the tax and spend culture that has gripped this state, nobody cares about the people who built this place you are all so happy to live in. They only care about themselves. The LAST people who need more money to spend are the politicians. They are TERRIBLE stewards of the money they are already supposed to spend and you want to give them more to fritter away.

The schools would only get 40%, the rest goes to the "general fund", which is spent on things that seldom benefit those who actually pay the taxes. As for the schools, over the years, the number of teachers and students has doubled, while the number of administrators has increased SEVEN FOLD. This money would just make that issue worse.

Prop 15 is a TERRIBLE idea and will have a negative impact on EVERYONE. The small businesses will suffer and you will only have yourselves to blame. Think beyond your desire to punish those you think are the "1%" because the people who will be harmed are NOT in that category. Those small owners and their employees aren't wealthy, but they will be out of a job if this passes.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2020 at 12:43 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2020 at 12:43 pm

In response to Santa Rita Mom you wrote:

“If this terrible proposition passes, I don't want to hear one peep from anyone who supported it about how we no longer have any small businesses in town.”

COVID, and AB5 is the cause of MASSIVE exodus from the bay area, let alone the state, which is making these businesses forced to close. They simply do not have the customers anymore. And you know it. You wrote:

“If this passes, their taxes go up, which means their margins go way down. They will pass the price on to you, the people who voted for it. You will mad that you have to pay more and then will buy from big box stores or on line. Then they will go out of business. The people who owned those businesses will move away and their employees will be out of work.”

COVID and AB5 is already doing it. In fact, the reports are that 30%+ of small businesses have already closed and that is not abnormal. It is proven that only 2 out of 10 small businesses ever last more than 10 years. You cannot put the blame of poor business management on the property taxes, that is the JOB of the small Business OWNERS themselves. You wrote:

“Typical of the tax and spend culture that has gripped this state, nobody cares about the people who built this place you are all so happy to live in. They only care about themselves. The LAST people who need more money to spend are the politicians. They are TERRIBLE stewards of the money they are already supposed to spend and you want to give them more to fritter away.”

And what evidence do you have that the private sector are GOOD stewards of money. The PROOF of this deception is the failure of “TRICKLE DOWN” economics. The facts are at least the politicians are open about what they do, the private sector doesn’t ever want public transparency. I for one even with my business education see a clear advantage of the PUBLIC sector in this matter. You wrote:

“The schools would only get 40%, the rest goes to the "general fund", which is spent on things that seldom benefit those who actually pay the taxes. As for the schools, over the years, the number of teachers and students has doubled, while the number of administrators has increased SEVEN FOLD. This money would just make that issue worse.”

Pleas provide the evidence to prove this, a SEVEN times increase sounds very unlikely to me? You wrote:

“Prop 15 is a TERRIBLE idea and will have a negative impact on EVERYONE. The small businesses will suffer and you will only have yourselves to blame. Think beyond your desire to punish those you think are the "1%" because the people who will be harmed are NOT in that category. Those small owners and their employees aren't wealthy, but they will be out of a job if this passes.”

No this is simply insulting us, you clearly do not know how to “Win Friends and Influence People” Instead your approach is to “Make Enemies and Alienate Others”. You aren’t going to get people to vote for you by insulting them.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.