By Jon Coupal | In the arguments and advertising in support of Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot, the proponents are trying to convince the voters it is all “for the kids.” As with previous education ballot measures in California, a parade of disasters is predicted unless the proposal in question is approved.
True to form, the opening argument set forth in the official voter information guide intones ominously, “Despite research showing students learn better in classrooms which are modern and safe, too many school buildings are dilapidated, unsafe, and unhealthy. Thousands remain at risk of wildfires or earthquakes. Others are contaminated with lead, mold, asbestos, and other hazardous materials.”
The first question taxpayers should ask is if things are this bad, where has all the previously voter-approved bond money gone? Let’s review some recent school bond measures already authorized by voters: Prop. 1A in 1998 ($9.2 billion); Prop. 47 in 2002 ($13.05 billion); Prop. 55 in 2004 ($12.3 billion); Prop. 1D in 2006 ($10.4 billion); and Prop. 51 in 2016 ($9 billion). In addition to tens of billions of dollars in new debt, there’s a nearly equal amount owed in interest costs.
And the lottery? It was sold to voters as a big step toward fully funding education. And what about Proposition 98 (1988), which mandates that at least 40% of the state’s general fund be spent on education? There is no excuse for even one classroom anywhere in the state of California still having unsafe conditions. Taxpayers and parents should demand to know which school buildings are unsafe.
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