Measure EE failure could be a turning of tax tide

By Jon Coupal | Against formidable odds, taxpayers scored a significant victory last week against big progressive interests. Measure EE, sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District, would have imposed a $500 million dollar annual property tax on all property owners within the district’s boundaries.

A weekly column by Jon Coupal

Because the tax was being advanced by the second largest school district in the nation, its potential impact was obviously huge. But Measure EE was more than just a local tax proposal. The outcome of the election was bound to have ramifications throughout the state, not just in Los Angeles.  That is why so many political interests were watching the campaign and its outcome so closely.

LAUSD backers claimed that they had a huge disadvantage because Measure EE, as a “special tax” under Proposition 13, needed a two-thirds vote of the voting electorate to pass. This complaint is not compelling given that EE didn’t even receive a simple majority of those voting.

Against this claimed disadvantage, let’s balance all the advantages possessed by the Measure EE proponents. The first is money. At latest count, it appears that the backers spent five times more than the opponents. It is always easier to raise campaign funds from those who stand to personally benefit financially from a ballot measure because the return on investment is so high. Public sector labor, especially the teachers’ union, were the biggest contributors. Also contributing to help pass the tax hike were various interests that do business with the city and were vulnerable to “requests” or retaliation from Mayor Eric Garcetti. Only a fool would believe that most of these campaign contributions were truly voluntary.

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