Why did Prop 13 Fail?

Written by Nicholas Vetrisek

To the surprise of many, Proposition 13, a measure designed to raise $15 billion in bond revenue for preschools, K-12 schools, community colleges, and state universities has failed to get the required votes to pass. Many bureaucrats and politicians have their own explanations.

“I think the overriding challenge to this bond measure was the fact that it was named Proposition 13, and that generated a lot of confusion,” said Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell. “Traditionally, voters in the state of California have supported school bonds because they recognize the need to upgrade school facilities across our state.”

Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson stated that “Maybe (there was) a lack of understanding that while the state provides infrastructure for schools in terms of curriculum and support for teacher allocations and staffing, that it really is the expectation of the state that local municipalities would help fund some of their own facilities costs.”

There is, of course, another explanation. Given the fact that no statewide bond measures have failed in nearly 30 years, perhaps this proposition failing is indicative of voters waking up to the fact that politicians waste their money while nothing gets done. They have seen the billions of dollars going towards improving “education” be wasted and see that this proposition would only throw more money into the bureaucratic void.

Furthermore, Prop 13 also comes at a time when state education shouldn’t need any money. Revenues are at an all time high in California, not to mention that we enjoyed the longest bull market in history until the COVID-19 outbreak. California voters have long supported education bonds because they are marketed as being “for the children,” but now they see that California’s financial strategy simply doesn’t work.

With Prop 13, it seems that Democrats have pushed Californians too far. Hopefully, voters can expand on this by voting down later eventual tax increases. The first no on a bond measure in nearly three decades cannot be a fluke, for the sake of California.


Photo by Mike Cohen via Flickr