It’s that time of year when California voters are barraged with political ads trying to persuade them how to vote on California’s many ballot measures.  At least two of these measures should be rejected outright by voters.   Propositions 15 and 21 threaten our State’s economy and our most vulnerable residents.  

Let’s start with Prop 15, an $11.5 billion a year property tax increase, the largest increase in state history. This proposed initiative will undo Proposition 13’s longstanding property tax protections, which have been in place for more than 40 years. Under Prop 13, both residential and business property taxes are calculated based on one percent of the purchase price and annual increases are capped at two percent.  While Californians have the highest taxes in the nation, Prop 13 provides certainty as property owners are protected against skyrocketing property tax increases. 

Prop 15 would reassess commercial and industrial properties at current market value at least every three years. 

While the special interests backing Prop 15 claim their measure protects small businesses and targets only large corporations, most of these costs will actually be passed down to medium and small businesses.  The measure leaves small businesses with few choices: increase prices on consumers, lay off employees, close their doors or move out of state.  

As our economy is struggling due to COVID lockdowns, now is the exact worst time for the largest property tax increase in state history.  If Prop 15 passes it will mean higher rents for small businesses and a higher cost of living for everyone. 

The other economy-killer on this year’s ballot is Prop 21.  Prop 21 gives local governments more power to enact rent control on apartments and even some single-family homes. The same special interests behind Prop 21 tried nearly the same measure two years ago and voters defeated it (Prop 10) with a 59% NO vote.  

Two years later, California is still suffering from a housing crisis. Prop 21 will make things worse for both homeowners and renters. 

Studies consistently show that rent control encourages landlords to take rental properties off the market and convert them into condos and townhomes. This would reduce rental housing supply, drive costs higher and make the housing crisis even worse. 

One of the worst parts of Prop 21 is that it would give unelected bureaucrats the power to add fees on rental housing without a vote of the people, making rental housing even more expensive and driving up the cost of living. 

Prop 21 could even put as many as 539 rental boards in charge of rental housing. These unelected bureaucrats will have the power to decide what people can or cannot do with their private property. They will even have the power to charge homeowners a fee for taking their home off the rental market. Policies like Prop 21 will only make housing and our cost of living more expensive. 

Some of California’s out of touch elitists don’t think a global pandemic and unprecedented shutdowns are enough bad fortune for the state’s economy, so they are proposing higher costs and more government restrictions.  

The measures taken individually are bad policy. But taken together, they will strike a tremendous blow to our struggling economy.  They are the wrong policy, at the wrong time and will hurt California businesses and consumers.  Vote no on Props 15 and 21.


Howard Hakes is the Chairman of the New Majority.  The New Majority is one of the largest statewide political organization in California. Through education and contributions, it seeks to inform its membership and contribute resources to philosophically aligned candidates and issues that share its mission.