One of the biggest surprises of the March primary was that California voters rejected the proposed $15-billion bond measure that would have paid for school construction and much-needed maintenance around the state. It’s the first time in a quarter of a century that a statewide school bond measure failed.
But did voters really want to stiff kids and schools? Or was the bond tanked, at least in part, by its name: Proposition 13? Anecdotal evidence suggests it may have been.
In California, most voters hear “Proposition 13" and think of the 1978 taxpayer revolt that capped most property taxes at 1% of a home’s sale price and holds annual increases in assessed value to 2% or less. There probably isn’t another ballot measure in California history and politics as famous or infamous — depending on your worldview — as Proposition 13.