Get the Scoop on State Proposition 13

Get the Scoop on State Proposition 13

Information provided by The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.

Proposition 13 authorizes $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for facility repair, construction, and modernization at public preschools, K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities.

Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs to repay bonds estimated at about $740 million per year (including interest) over the next 35 years. Majority approval required.

The way it is now

One of the ways state government supports public education is by providing money to build and repair school and college buildings. This money usually comes from bonds.

What if it passes?

Prop 13 would allow the state to sell $15 billion in new bonds to help build and repair schools, including:

  • $9 billion for preschools and K-12 schools
  • $6 billion for public universities and community colleges

Schools could use this money to make buildings safer, to construct new buildings, or to increase the amount of student housing. Prop 13 would also increase the amount of money local school districts could raise by selling their own bonds. Districts with less money could also apply for more help from the state to pay for construction projects.

Budget effect

The state would spend about $740 million per year for the next 35 years to repay the bonds. The effect on local governments would depend on the choices that school districts and universities make about building repairs and new buildings.

People FOR say

  • Prop 13 is a smart investment that will make California’s schools and colleges safer.
  • Money from Prop 13 will help pay for badly needed repairs and security improvements.

People AGAINST say

  • Voters already approved $9 billion in 2016 to build and repair schools.
  • Prop 13 would allow school districts to borrow more money, which could increase taxes for all California property owners.

Official Information About This Measure

YES vote means

A YES vote on this measure means: The state could sell $15 billion in general obligation bonds to fund school, community college, and university facility projects. In addition, school districts and community college districts would be authorized to issue more local bonds, and school districts would have new limits on their ability to levy developer fees. 

NO vote means

A NO vote on this measure means: The state could not sell $15 billion in general obligation bonds to fund education facility projects. The state also would not make changes to school districts’ and community college districts’ existing local borrowing limits or the existing rules for school districts to levy developer fees. 

Office of the Attorney General

  • Authorizes $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for public education facilities: $9 billion for preschools and K–12 (includes $5.2 billion for modernization, $2.8 billion for new construction, $500 million for charter schools, and $500 million for career technical education); $6 billion for public universities and community colleges.
  • Projects will improve facilities’ health/ safety conditions (including earthquake/ fre safety and removing lead from water) and increase affordable student housing.
  • Limits administrative costs to 5%.
  • Appropriates money from General Fund to repay bonds.

SUMMARY OF LEGISLATIVE ANALYST’S ESTIMATE OF NET STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FISCAL IMPACT: 

  • Increased state costs to repay bonds estimated at about $740 million per year (including interest) over the next 35 years.
  • Mixed effect on the amount of local bonds issued by school and community college districts and a likely reduction in the amount of developer fees collected by certain school districts going forward.

Still want to know more? Read about Proposition 13’s background, financial impact, published arguments, endorsements, opposition, contributions for and against, and an impartial analysis — you can even take a deep dive into reading the proposed legislation itself. All this and more is available on VotersEdge.org.

Photo: Christopher Sessums / Creative Commons

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