Special Interest Tax Break Threatens Local Funding
What it does: Proposition 5 carves out a new property tax break for a few select groups, the largest of which is people over 55. Those select homeowners would be able to shift their current property-tax assessment if they buy a larger, more expensive home. The measure also purports to offer the same benefit to those with disabilities and disaster victims – both of which already enjoy property-tax benefits under current law.
Who’s for it: Prop. 5 was placed on the ballot by a single interest group, the Realtors Association, with the objective of trying to induce wealthy older Californians into buying more expensive homes.
Who’s against it: Teachers, counties, cities, public safety
Why it matters to firefighters:
According to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst, Prop. 5 threatens to blow a $2 billion hole into local government and education funding. At a time when many fire departments are still woefully understaffed, the shortfall would almost certainly be felt in local fire stations and other local services.
The proposition provides no meaningful benefit to disaster victims, as the tax benefits it purports to offer largely mirror those already available to rebuild homes.
The benefits of Prop. 5’s tax break largely skew to older, wealthier homeowners, who will have the means to buy larger, more expensive homes. This could drive up housing costs, making it that much harder for those under 55 to afford homes.
CPF Recommends: No on Proposition 5
A Threat to Road and Bridge Safety Improvements
What it does: Proposition 6 removes $5 billion a year from road, bridge and transportation improvements by rolling back an increase in gasoline tax passed in 2017. The tax, approved by the Legislature and the governor, is required by state constitution to go only to transportation projects, a requirement reinforced by voters earlier this year with the passage of Proposition 69. If Prop. 6 passes, 6,500 state infrastructure projects would be shelved, many of them critical earthquake safety improvements.
Who’s for it: The most visible proponent of Prop. 6 are Carl De Maio, a local San Diego talk-show host and anti-pension advocate. The measure is also being pushed by anti-worker politicians, including gubernatorial candidate John Cox and U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes.
Who’s against it: More than 300 groups, including the California Highway Patrolmen’s Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Civil Engineers, the State Building Trades and nearly every labor, business and local government organization in California.
Why it matters to firefighters:
From evacuation routes to fire access roads to traffic safety, public safety depends on our roads and bridges, and California’s need fixing. Prop. 6 would stop 6,500 road, bridge and transportation improvements needed to keep our roads and streets safe.
California has more than 1,600 bridges and overpasses that are structurally unsafe, a potentially catastrophic problem in the event of an earthquake or major disaster. Prop. 6 would stop many of these essential repairs dead in their tracks.
Poor roads and crumbling freeways, county and city streets are a major factor in vehicle collisions and narrow roads and shoulders complicate vehicle accident scenes for first responders.
Voters overwhelmingly passed Prop. 69, which puts the gas-tax funding into a lock-box that can’t be touched for anything other than transportation projects. Prop. 6 violates the accountability imposed by voters.
CPF Recommends: No on Proposition 6
CPF Also Recommends…
Authorizes use of existing tax on incomes of over $1 million for mental health services to underwrite bonds to prevent homelessness. Preventing and housing homeless eases pressure on emergency responders and contributes to safety of homeless individuals and communities
Limits profits for dialysis providers and promotes appropriate staffing and equipment at dialysis clinics. Understaffed dialysis clinics create unnecessary emergency calls, adding stress to the 9-1-1 emergency response system. Prop. 8 eases that pressure and ends windfall profits for dialysis providers.
Exempts private ambulance providers from state labor law concerning meal and rest breaks. Financed solely by private ambulance providers, who have repeatedly been found to violate these labor law provisions.