The latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California contains some interesting data on gun control and immigration, but the most important finding in the survey – one that could impact public policy in a meaningful way — is the report that 57% of Californians support lowering to 55% the vote needed to pass local parcel taxes for public schools.
Yes, it’s worth noting that 65% of adults say government isn’t doing enough to limit gun violence, that 76% say illegal immigrants ought to have a path to citizenship and that 69% like Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposals.
But when it comes to changing policy in California in a way that would have a long-term impact, support for lowering the threshold for approving local measures for schools – a loosening of the straight jack that Prop 13 imposed 37 years ago – is the item the Legislature and governor ought to focus on.
Support among all adults for lowering that threshold from a two-thirds vote is higher today than it was in April 2011 (48%) and April 2009 (45%). More over, PPIC found, among public school parents, support is 65% — which suggests a ready-to-campaign core of voters who could push for a measure.
Partisan sentiments on the issue are what you’d expect: 60% among Democrats, 52% among independents and 46% among Republicans.
This – along with splitting the tax roll to allow commercial and industrial properties to be assessed at market value while protecting homeowners – is a battle worth fighting. And one that would have a long-term impact.
Gov. Brown, who has his own priorities with high-speed rail, water and energy, isn’t likely to lead on this issue. But neither is he likely to stand in the way if the Legislature were to take the lead.