Why did the LAUSD’s Board place Measure EE on a special June 4th ballot?
The Board’s decision to tax all homeowners, renters and businesses is in direct response to the promises made by the district to meet union demands to end the strike earlier this year, despite numerous warnings from fiscal auditors that the District could not afford to fund the union’s demands. The district projects a more than $400 million annual shortfall, due in large measure to skyrocketing health care costs and exploding pension debt.
Why is Measure EE on a June 4th ballot and not the next regularly scheduled election?
Placing Measure EE on a special June 4th ballot, at a cost of more than $12.5 million to Los Angeles area taxpayers, is a disingenuous and cynical attempt by the district to pull a fast one on LA voters. Rather than working to fix longstanding problems and then place a tax measure on the next regularly scheduled election (March 2020), the unions and the Board decided to rush and place a poorly written, poll-tested tax measure on a special election ballot hoping that low voter turnout would ensure its odds of passage.
What would Measure EE fund?
Measure EE contains no guarantee that monies raised by the tax increase will be spent as indicated. EE’s tax dollars go into the district’s general fund to be spent at the Board’s will. Measure EE has no cap on administrative expenses and, despite district and union claims to the contrary, has no requirement the new tax revenue be spent on children or in the classroom. What’s even more troubling, the district removed language from Measure EE that prohibits money from going toward retiree pension and healthcare benefits.
What reform measures is the NO campaign proposing?
The time to discuss reforms to the LAUSD are after Measure EE is defeated on June 4th. Simply throwing money at the problem isn’t going to fix it. Los Angeles taxpayers already pay 12 cents per square foot in property taxes. Increasing the property tax by more than double to provide more money to a school district with a poor record of achievement and runaway retiree pension and health care benefits is wrong.
How much would Measure EE cost homeowners?
The District’s own language says the property tax would cost property owners an average of $537 each year. Measure EE will charge homeowners 16 cents per square foot of any property if it is located in the LAUSD service area. If you own a duplex or an apartment building, your tax bill would be even greater.
Would businesses pay for Measure EE or just homeowners?
If you own property in the LAUSD’s service area, your taxes will increase if Measure EE passes. Businesses, renters, single family homeowners, small business owners, and commercial and industrial properties would all pay higher taxes.
What is the LAUSD doing to stabilize school funding and to protect teachers and instructional programs?
Nothing. The LAUSD spends more than $7.5 billion annually, yet the district is so badly mismanaged that money hasn’t led to any significant improvements in classrooms or test results. A 2018 Reason Foundation report found that over the last 15 years, the district has lost more than 245,000 students, yet staffing (administration and teachers) during that same time period has increased. Since 2014, the cost of the district’s employee benefits has increased 44% and its spending on outside consulting services has risen a whopping 110%.
Will Measure EE increase taxes for renters?
Measure EE will make rental housing even more expensive - troubling when housing in the LAUSD’s service area is already unaffordable for many Angelinos. Contrary to what the unions are telling voters, some tenants will see immediate rent increases. For those buildings covered by rent control, when units become vacant, building owners will raise rents and recoup the tax. Additionally, no property owner will simply absorb a tax increase. Other services will become more expensive.
Are senior citizens exempt from Measure EE?
No. The ballot language, as written, says seniors “may” apply for an exemption. This application process must occur each year and the district has the sole discretion to deny or grant the exemption.
Does Measure EE address the issues raised in this year’s teachers’ strike?
That is unclear. What is clear is that the district has an annual budget deficit of more than $400 million in pension debt and retiree healthcare costs. It’s equally clear that Measure EE is the first step in UTLA’s plan to radically increase taxes on all property owners, including the elimination of Proposition 13’s protections.
I don’t have any kids in school. How does Measure EE affect me?
Measure EE taxes anyone who owns property in the LAUSD’s service area - parents and non-parents alike. This type of property tax disproportionately impacts those who can least afford it and it will make housing, already unaffordable, that much more expensive.
Hasn’t Los Angeles Unified passed similar funding measures previously?
Yes. Los Angeles area residents already pay for school bonds as well as 12-cents per square foot for other education purposes. All told, if Measure EE is approved, Los Angeles taxpayers would be pay 28-cents for every square foot of property they own. A homeowner with a 3,000 square foot home would be paying more than $840 a year.