The New Prop 13

The New Prop 13

The New Prop 13
A March 2020 State Ballot Measure

No joke—we are voting on Prop 13 this March! It’s AB 48, the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020. The single state ballot measure appearing on your ballot will be featured as Prop 13.

Why label it Prop 13? In 1998, the State Legislature decided that the numbering process for propositions should begin again every ten years and that bond measures would appear first on the ballot. In 2018, the first year under the latest cycle, there were twelve propositions on the ballot. AB 48, the only state bond measure on the March 3 ballot, is the next in line. So we are once again voting on a “Prop 13”!

The potential for confusion is clear. The old Proposition 13, passed in 1978, changed the way California’s property taxes are assessed, and another measure, Schools and Communities First—which will appear on the November 2020 ballot— proposes changes in the way commercial properties are taxed in order to ameliorate some of the unfair burden on residential property owners that resulted from the 1978 measure. For more information about this November measure, see

Although AB 48—the new “Prop 13” for 2020—has nothing to do with property taxes, don’t be surprised if the League’s Schools and Communities First campaign causes minds to conflate these two propositions.

So, what is the new Proposition 13, also known as the Bonds for Schools and Colleges? It is a legislatively referred statute that requires majority approval. It authorizes $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for facility repair, construction, and modernization at public preschools, K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities (

How would the state decide which projects receive bond funds? Find out at

—Martha Y. Zavala

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