Calif. Fil-Ams say corporate loopholes rob from public services

OAKLAND, Calif. – These students and workers say that big corporations and wealthy commercial property owners in California are getting away with not paying their fair share of property taxes which takes away from funding of other public services.

Their “Make it Fair” campaign aims to close the corporate loopholes created by the state’s proposition 13.

Prop 13 was originally created in 1978 to protect seniors and others living on fixed incomes by only limiting their property tax each year; however, it also applied to commercial businesses.

“Every year we as a state and tax payers lose out on 100 million dollars every near because they are paying below market rate property tax,” said Jidan Terry-Koon of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote.

These Filipino-American students say that because of this loophole they are being robbed of their education especially in the areas of the arts and humanities.

“It’s not fair,” said Erin Savedo. “Why are you not paying your taxes? We’re all paying it here so why shouldn’t you?”

“If we want to keep students, teenagers off the streets then let’s keep the classes,” said Jay Justin Julio Feria. “Give them a reason to go there. Give them motivation so it’s not just something they have to go but something they want to go to.”

The Property Tax Fairness amendment of SCA 5 would reassess commercial and industrial property at fair market value, closing the loophole.

And according to research released by the University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, if the amendment passes it would generate nine billion dollars in revenue each year once it’s fully phased in.

Opponents, who are from taxpayer rights groups, say prop. 13 changes would cost ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs.

Advocates of the “Make it Fair” campaign say they are confident that SCA 5 will be supported.

“We’ve talked to over 100,000 voters in the last three months about proposition 13 reform and about 80,000 of those voters say they are in support of it that means three out of four voters in California support this,” said Terry-Koon.

“We’re all people. We’re all students. We’re all affected by this and that’s why we have to make a change and make it fair,” said Feria.

Advocates hope that the measure would be placed on the ballot in November 2016 when approved by the state legislature; however, they are prepared to take it to the streets to gather enough petitions to give voters an opportunity to make a decision.

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