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E-150 - Saturday, October 5, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
MONEY MATTERS: This is the space where we look at interesting contributions to party committees or non-capped "ballot measure" committee accounts affiliated with legislators. Standard contributions to candidate committees up to the 2020 limit of $9,400 for primary and general are not included.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Saturday! I'm actually writing this Friday night as I have an early wedding in the morning.
BILL UPDATE: Courtesy of lobbyist Chris Micheli
POLL POSITION: Yesterday, we talked about the Democratic presidential race in California. The poll also tested voter opinions on ballot measures, specifically the March 2020 $15 billion preK-university bond, the "split roll" property tax measure currently in circulation, and a hypothetical water bond.
AB 48 (O'Donnell): Education finance: school facilities: Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020.
Poll question: "If the state ballot had a $15 billion dollar bond measure to pay for construction and modernization of public schools, community colleges and California’s fouryear college systems, would you vote yes or no"
My thoughts: Generally speaking, proponents want ballot measures to poll near 60% six months out. Well, we're five months out. That said, I would be less worried about a school bond as it's pretty straightforward to voters. In contrast, something like "split roll" property tax is far more complicated and, like we saw with rent control and dialysis last year, if voters are uncertain with what a measure does, they likely vote no.
A large coalition will spend heftily in support of the measure and opposition will be minimal. Supporters will say "Build safer schools without raising taxes." Opponents will talk about the state's "wall of debt," which still exists although much more long term than the short-term gimmickry used in the last twenty years by both parties.
Water bond: Agreement was not reached at the end of session for several reasons including the usual debate of storage vs. conservation. Also, there was a big debate over the size of the school bond, whether to split it between 2020 and 2022, and whether or not a water bond could bring both measures. An initiative for a $7.883 billion in bonds is currently in circulation "Authorizes Bonds To Fund Projects For Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, And Protecting Wildlife And Lands From Climate Risks. Initiative Statute."
Poll question: "If the state ballot had a bond measure to pay for water infrastructure projects, would you vote yes or no?"
My thoughts: Those are good numbers, although the question did not have a dollar amount in it, but it didn't have the popular phrases "wildfire prevention" and "drinking water" in it, so those probably even out.
"Split roll" property tax: As you may know, last year a "split roll" measure had sufficient signatures to qualify, but not in time for the November 2018 ballot. Because proponents did not make 2018, they decided to orphan the 2018 measure and write a new initiative for November 2020, which is currently out for circulation. The measure is pending title and summary at the Attorney General's office. Title and summary for the new initiative title and summary is due from the AG's office by October 17. The 2020 initiative took into account concerns expressed by some property owners but there will be a "Protect Prop. 13" campaign regardless.
Poll question: "What if there was a state ballot measure to have commercial properties taxed according to their current market value and direct some of this new tax revenue to state funding for K-to-12 public schools? Would you vote yes or no?"
I need not tell you that the numbers aren't great and that the proponents will need a massive campaign to offset the onslaught of campaign ads in opposition.
An interesting aside. The Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative has contributed $1 million to the effort, $500,000 each for the 2018 and 2020 efforts. Facebook's campus in Menlo Park is in mostly new buildings and the employees are comparatively young. Thus, they stand out somewhat different than conventional businesses that raises the question if other "new economy" businesses break from the traditional commercial property organizations.
That's an interesting dynamic compared to 1978 when Proposition 13 was sold largely on protecting older Californians from rapidly increased property taxes (from valuation appreciation) and a much different, less transient residential population. Do younger voters/donors who are not as fixed in their locations care the way folks did for Proposition 13? I'll have to think about this one more and welcome your thoughts.
Like with Proposition 10 (rent control) last year, changes to commercial property tax will not be solely a California issue. More than $73.5 million was spent opposing the measure and, of the main committee's $53.9 million raised, $15.3 million was outside of California. And, that was rental properties.
Commercial properties have much bigger ownership by real estate investment trusts (REITs) and will spend handily to defeat a measure that the Legislative Analyst's Office forecasts would cost between $7.5 billion and $12 billion annually. Like Hudson Pacific Properties and Allianz Real Estate, which own San Francisco's Ferry Building. Allianz is the Swiss insurance company. In short, money is not an object. I'm not picking on the Ferry Building, but I'm thinking of oysters at Hog Island right now. Yes, food desire drives The Nooner.
On the other side, proponents will argue that corporations have abused California's tax law through ownership gimmicks and $7.5 billion-$12 billion can be invested that money for our kids and communities.
There is of course another rent control measure sponsored by Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which appears to be moving forward even after AB 1482, the "rent gouging" bill was signed into law.
KAMALA HARRIS: I wrote yesterday my take on where Senator Kamala Harris's presidential bid stands in California. Today, LAT political wiz Mark Z. Barabak also takes a look.
TOM STEYER: While he has been television a lot for several years, San Francisco resident and billionaire former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer has 150 days to convince Californians (let aware everywhere else) that he should be treated as a serious presidential candidate. For CalMatters, Ben Christopher looks at what we know about him after the PPIC poll returned a 1% showing.
WHERE ARE WE? In the Bee, Gil Duran writes about the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and Warren's evident lead, and doesn't look kindly on her past claims of Native American heritage:
"If [Warren's] the Democratic nominee, who will swing state voters choose to forgive? A man who lies every time he speaks, or a woman who repeated one big lie for decades?
Please forgive my lack of optimism.
Of course, this is 2020. I could be wrong. I certainly hope so."
POLITICAL EYE CANDY, CAKEDAY and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
EYE CANDY: Here's a great resource by the California Research Bureau of the California State Library featuring legislative district profiles. [h/t Alex Vassar--and it's pronounced "VASS-er" for those that were tracking the Twitter thread on topic.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Johnathan Ervin and Pedro Ramirez!