by Maria S. Salinas
I’ve come to know the L.A. Area Chamber as an organization with a deep legacy, grounded in a value system that demonstrates our care of community. Those values are reflected in our commitment to investing in public education, dating back to our beginning.
The Chamber is a founder of L.A. Trade Tech and with LAUSD, we’ve supported more than $20 billion in facility bonds, raised more than $10 million and contributed thousands of volunteer hours for L.A.’s Cash for College programs. We strive to ensure a quality public education for L.A.’s youth. We will never waiver, it’s in our DNA.
This past month, we took a position to oppose Measure EE, LAUSD’s per square foot parcel tax, set for the June ballot.
We understand the financial picture at LAUSD and the importance of committing resources to provide a quality education for all our students; however, Measure EE is not the answer. This ballot measure is excessive and based on square footage, unfairly disadvantages multi-family and commercial properties. Measure EE will place a significant tax burden on property owners and renters, who are already facing an affordability crisis. Additionally, LAUSD has no plan for reform or budget planning to ensure long term sustainability, nor a requirement for independent oversight. We are committed to helping develop a plan to increase investment in our schools, but this parcel tax is not the solution.
In our early meetings with LAUSD leadership, we were presented with multiple funding options, including a flat per parcel tax. In a special meeting of our Executive Committee, we agreed to support a flat rate scenario, which I communicated to the LAUSD Board (Read my statement here). Unfortunately, the LAUSD Board approved the 16 cents per square foot parcel tax without giving consideration to our suggestions or getting community input.
Moreover, the L.A. Area Chamber has a long-standing track record in advancing good governance, including our advocacy of moving local elections to larger turnout dates because we believe more voters is better for democracy. The move to place this measure on a special election ballot in June will cost taxpayer’s $12 million and requires two-thirds of the votes to pass which is hard to achieve, even with a broad-based coalition.
While we understand both the need for resources and the urgency of this situation, we believe this ballot measure is not the right solution. We are a Chamber that does right by L.A.’s youth, working relentlessly to seek opportunities for a better tomorrow. We remain committed to the educational success of L.A.’s youth.
Este artículo también está disponible en español.
This article is also available in Spanish.