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In-Depth: Funding Proposition 15

More than $80 million has been spent on ballot issue
Posted at 6:03 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 10:37:41-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More than $83 million has been spent on Proposition 15 this year, making it the third most expensive ballot proposition in 2020.

According to reports from the California Fair Political Practices Commission, supporters have brought in $41 million. Opponents have contributed $42 million.

As written on the ballot, Proposition 15 will "increase funding sources for public schools, community colleges, and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property."

The Proposition will raise commercial and industrial property taxes by reassessing property based on current values. Under 1978's Proposition 13, property tax has been calculated based on the value when the property was last sold.

The change in tax assessments could bring the state anywhere from $6 billion to $12 billion every year.

Because so much money is at stake, stakeholders are willing to spend a lot to sway voters.

"With those being the stakes, we felt compelled to do whatever is necessary to raise funds to defeat this thing," says Michael Bustamante, the Spokesperson for the No on Prop 15 campaign committee. They've raised the most money of any committee listed, at $25 million.

A large chunk of that money, $13 million, comes from the California Business Roundtable. Their website says it's "a non-partisan organization comprised of the senior executive leadership of the major employers throughout the state."

Other top donors for the opposition to Proposition 15 include more than $800,000 from the California Taxpayers Association and a half-million dollars from the California Farm Bureau Federation.

On the other side, the largest donor supporting Proposition 13 is the California Teachers Association, which has contributed $12 million to help it pass.

"What it says for us and why we're collectively behind this is because we feel like this is a time to reset the priorities in California," says CTA Vice President David Goldberg.

Supporters of Proposition 15 also got $7.5 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an education-focused charity run by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan.

The California Service Employees International Union donated $7 million to help the Proposition pass.

Prop 15 needs a simple majority vote to pass. Recent polling averages show it has a 49%-41% lead.

For a full look at the Campaign Committees and their top donors, click here.