Gov. Gavin Newsom was in America’s Finest City on Friday to rally in support of Proposition 13, a $15 bond measure for school facilities, days before Californians head to the polls for the 2020 Primary Election.
The Democrat joined Assembly Member Todd Gloria to speak about the proposition at Dana Middle School in Point Loma -- built in 1942 when the focus was creating schools to withstand air raids.
It was chosen as an example of the types of schools in California in need of modernization, a school that could get upgrades if the only statewide measure on Tuesday's ballot is passed.
“You care about your neighbor’s kids? Support Prop. 13. You care about your own kids? Support Prop. 13. You care about health care costs, reducing the costs of incarceration you care about not having to pay more taxes in the back end? Support Prop. 13,” Newsom said.”
Proposition 13 would authorize $15 billion to improve schools and college facilities -- $9 billion would be used for pre-K through 12th-grade schools, $4 billion for state universities and $2 billion for community colleges.
According to the measure, funds would address health and safety concerns at schools, including creating earthquake- and fire-safe buildings, removing lead from water and removing mold and asbestos from classrooms.
"It's not just about K-12 schools," Newsom said. "We have this extraordinary system of higher education that has not been attended to either."
Newsom said the measure would also support affordable housing. A provision for higher education campuses would ensure there was an affordable housing plan in place before each would receive funding.
Supporters of the measure include members of California's Democratic congregation and several unions, teacher associations and school boards.
Critics argue the bond will nearly double what school districts could borrow, which could lead to future tax increases.
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Editorial Board rejected Prop. 13 in a review published on Feb. 19, citing three reasons to vote against the measure:
- The board questioned why a state with a $7 billion surplus would take on a bond that would cost taxpayers.
- The board argued that some development requirements for school districts would indirectly lead to more property taxes.
- The board believes a provision within the measure to increase the cap on the amount of general obligation bonds that can be issued is irresponsible because it would lead to long-term borrowing.
Although, the editorial board did acknowledge that it was better than the state's last school bond measure because it would judge local awards based on merit rather than its predecessor's first-come, first-served approach.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has also come out against the proposition.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimates repayments on the bond borrowing would add $740 million a year to California's budget for the next 35 years.
When asked if there is a way to fix school infrastructure without a bond measure, Newsom replied: "unequivocably, absolutely no."
"If they're aware of 15 billion dollars sitting around in an operating surplus account, please send them my way."