Photo credit: Sanfranman59 on Wikipedia
By Miriam Raftery
December 28, 2015 (Sacramento) – Nonprofit groups that help the poor are working to qualify the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act for the November 2016 ballot. The Legislative Analyst has estimated that the measure could raise up to $7 billion by adding a property tax surcharge on properties worth $3 million or more.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s analysis of the ballot measure, if approved by voters, property owners would pay an additional 0.3 percent on the portion of assessed values greater than $3 million and less than $5 million, 0.6 percent on the portion greater than $5 million and less than $10 million, and 0.8 percent on the portion above $10 million.
These assessed value thresholds would be adjusted annually for inflation. The Legislature, under certain conditions, could increase the specified surcharge percentages up to a maximum rate of 1 percent. This action would require the approval of two-thirds of the members of each house of the Legislature.
The measure exempts property from the surcharge if 1) it is used exclusively as rental housing and 2) the average value of a housing unit is less than $2 million.
The measure deposits the revenues derived from the property tax surcharge in a new state fund, the Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Fund. They money would be used to fund a variety of health, education and social services programs ranging from pre-school to job training to home-healthcare assistance.
The Sacramento Bee reports that major money has begun to flow into the effort to qualify the measure for the ballot. On Christmas Eve, the Making Poverty History campaign committee reported a $700,000 donation from the Daughters of Charity Foundation, bringing to $900,000 the total contributed by the Los Angeles-based group, a Christian organization dedicated to serving the poor.
Other major donors to the measure are Los Angeles entrepreneur Joseph Sanberg, who has given $150,000; St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and the Youth Policy Institute, Inc., which each donated $50,000.
Supporters have until March 21st to collect 585,407 signatures needed to put the initiative on the November ballot.