Proposition J

Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District

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Would sunset the annual parcel tax on real property in San Francisco approved by the voters in June 2018 (Measure G), that as of July 1, 2021 would be $320 per parcel, and replaces it with a parcel tax of $288 and the proposed tax would increase over time as the per parcel rate is adjusted for inflation and would be effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2038. Proposition J requires at least ⅔ (66.66% + 1) of voters approving to pass.

Fiscal Impact: Would generate tax revenues of approximately $48.1 million annually.

Next San Francisco County Measure: Proposition K

Details

Pro/Con
Pro: 

Proponents of Proposition J argue that without the parcel tax, San Francisco Unified School District will face a projected $148 million deficit in Fiscal Year 2021-22, a 16% reduction in the current budget and these budget cuts would have a devastating impact on student learning and outcomes.

A YES vote on this measure means: The City would replace the 2018 School Parcel Tax with a new tax that changes the annual tax rate from $320 per parcel to $288 per parcel, adjusted for inflation each year and with an exemption for people age 65 or older, beginning on July 1, 2021.

Con: 

Opponents of Proposition J argue that as a flat tax, this parcel tax would punish single occupancy property owners, while forfeiting an opportunity to collect more revenue on multiple occupancy parcels. They argue that SFUSD already receives $53 million in sales tax, $40 million from two other parcel taxes, and $130 million from other special taxes.

A NO vote on this measure means: The City would not replace the 2018 School Parcel Tax with a new tax that changes the annual tax rate from $320 per parcel to $288 per parcel.

In Depth
Background

In June 2018, a majority of San Francisco voters approved an annual parcel tax of $320 per parcel of taxable property (with annual adjustments for inflation) to provide funding to the SFUSD (Proposition G: 2018 School Parcel Tax). People age 65 or older before July 1 of the tax year are exempt from this tax if they own an interest in the property being taxed and if the property is where they live most of the time.

The 2018 School Parcel Tax passed with a simple majority, but a lawsuit was filed contending that it needed a two-thirds vote to pass, and the funds were frozen pending the outcome of the suit. If the lawsuit finds that the 2018 School Parcel Tax is invalid, then taxes collected so far would be returned to parcel owners. If the lawsuit finds that the 2018 School Parcel Tax is valid, then the taxes collected so far would be allocated to the SFUSD. No matter the outcome of the lawsuit, if the new Proposition J passes with a two-thirds majority, it would be enacted in place of the 2018 School Parcel Tax.

Proposition J Proposal

Proposition J would replace the 2018 School Parcel Tax (Proposition G), which was approved with 61% of the vote, with a new parcel tax that needs the approval of two-thirds (66.66%) of voters. If approved, Proposition J would change the tax rate from $320 to $288 per parcel of taxable property beginning on July 1, 2021. This tax would be adjusted for inflation each year and, like the 2018 tax, would expire on June 30, 2038.

People age 65 or older before July 1 of the tax year would be exempt from this tax if they own an interest in the property being taxed and if the property is where they live most of the time. Revenue from this parcel tax is estimated to be $48.1 million annually.

SFUSD could use the money collected through this tax for the same purposes as the 2018 School Parcel Tax, to:

  • Increase salaries and benefits for teachers, paraeducators, and other SFUSD employees;
  • Increase staffing and program funding at high-needs schools and community schools;
  • Provide professional development;
  • Invest in technology, including full support of digital teaching and learning tools for students, educators, and their families;
  • Fund public charter schools;
  • Provide oversight to ensure funds are allocated only to these purposes.

Source: Legal Text of Proposition J and League of Women Voters of San Francisco Nonpartisan Analysis of Proposition J

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