The Laguna Hills City Council adopted a resolution opposing Proposition 15, a statewide ballot measure that would impose a property tax hike on commercial and industrial properties throughout California, at its most recent meeting.
Proposition 15, which is on the Nov. 3 ballot, would tax commercial and industrial properties based on current market values instead of their original purchase prices, with some exceptions. The allotted taxes, estimated to be from $8 billion to $12.5 billion annually, would go toward funding public schools and community colleges.
Laguna Hills Mayor Janine Heft said the tax hike would be disastrous for Californians.
“Don’t think that the next step won’t be to come after your homes—and as expensive as it is a place here in California to live, that would be disastrous,” Heft said.
Councilmember Dave Wheeler said that Proposition 15 “hurts our businesses terribly.”
“I think it’s proper that we should also be on record opposing this. It just doesn’t help our businesses, especially this bad time in history,” Wheeler said.
Councilmember Don Sedgwick called the proposition discriminatory.
“We’ve never treated one property owner differently than another property owner just because of the way that the property is being used,” Sedgwick said during the meeting.
“And that’s what this does … it discriminates against property owners who happen to be business owners, or happen to use their property for business purposes. And I don’t think that’s right, and I think that especially the timing of this is terrible during a time when businesses need all the help they can get.”
Laguna Hills Mayor Pro Tem Erica Pezold echoed the other council members’ concerns. She said now is the wrong time to bring the proposition forward, citing the strenuous circumstances business owners are under.
The Laguna Hills City Council joined other county and state organizations that have also publicly stated their opinions regarding the proposition.
Last month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 3–2 against a resolution opposing Proposition 15. The resolution failed due to disagreement among supervisors about the role the board should play in state policies.
In August, the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce joined the California Chamber of Commerce in urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to withhold his support for Proposition 15, which they said would mean higher property taxes for small businesses.
“Small business in California is already on the ropes because of the COVID crisis. The advancement of Proposition 15 will be salt in the wound,” Bryan Starr, the president and CEO of the Irvine chamber, said at the time.
Voters will either approve or deny the measure on Nov. 3.
Focus News: Laguna Hills Adopts Resolution Opposing Property Tax Proposition