Supes support Prop. 15 split roll measure over Barger’s oppostion

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger speaks during the Regional Center Legislative Town Hall at Bella Vida SCV Senior Center on Thursday, February 27, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday in support of a ballot measure that would repeal a portion of Proposition 13, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger casting the dissenting vote. 

Prop. 15 would tax most commercial and industrial properties in California based on their market value, rather than their purchase price. 

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who introduced the motion to support the proposition — known as the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020 — said the impact to the county’s general fund would increase property tax revenues to $393.4 million, or 5% of locally generated revenues. 

“Considering the profound impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the county’s fiscal outlook, it is important to pursue additional revenues that could be used to counter the potential disinvestment in education and local services, particularly within vulnerable and disadvantaged communities,” read the motion. 

Due largely to significant drops in revenue, the county is facing a $935.3 million budget shortfall. 

Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, cast the lone vote in opposition to the motion. 

“This statewide effort would be the largest tax increase in California history at a time when businesses are grappling with major financial repercussions as a result of COVID-19,” said Barger in a statement. “The ongoing closures and limited activity necessitated by the pandemic have significantly hurt businesses and employees. Rather than imposing another undue burden on our local businesses, we should look for opportunities to support their rebuilding and regrowth, which will in turn help our regional economy.”  

Prop. 15, known as the “split roll” measure, would repeal a portion of Prop. 13 by raising property taxes on large businesses and the revenue would go toward increasing funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges and local governments. The proposal exempts residential and agricultural properties, targeting only high-value commercial and industrial properties. 

Property tax revenues total $6.3 billion in L.A. County provide funding for critical services and community programs, according to county officials. 

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