This spring Oakland Rising ran a 14-day campaign focused on:
- reforming state corporate property tax to generate revenue for underfunded community services such as schools, health care, and roads
- fighting gentrification in Oakland through a fair city budget and public land policy
With Oakland suffering from gentrification, displacement, and the underfunding of public services, the message of this campaign resulted in our highest percentage of supportive voters to date. Of the voters who our team contacted over the phone and at the door, a resounding 96% (or 4,597) supported corporate property tax reform and 94% (or 3,833) supported adopting a responsible public lands policy and budget that supports working families.
We ran the corporate property tax reform portion of the campaign as part of the statewide California Calls alliance. A multi-year campaign, Make It Fair seeks to assess commercial and industrial property at fair market value and close commercial property tax loopholes (Prop. 13, 1978), protect homeowners and renters from any changes, and provide tax relief to small businesses. The lack of revenue generated from corporate properties has led to major cuts to services and programming in the state. Essentially, corporations like Chevron and Disneyland are stealing this money from our communities. If Prop. 13 loopholes are closed, we could generate an increase in revenue of $9 Billion statewide and $369 Million in Alameda County — that is what the Make It Fair campaign aims to do.
Our local ask helped to inform the work that we do through the Refund Oakland Coalition to keep long term residents in their homes, and address the rise of homelessness and the lack of jobs with livable wages. The Refund Oakland Coalition and organizations across Oakland are calling for both a fair budget and a fair public lands policy that supports working families who are struggling to survive and stay in Oakland.
The Refund Coalition has the following asks:
- Reinvest in Housing for ALL including a Building Acquisition Fund, Homeless Navigation Centers, Enforcement of Measure JJ (which Oakland Rising helped pass in November 2016) and Divesting in Criminalization of the Homeless and Unhoused.
- Reinvest in Oakland’s Workers by enforcing minimum wage, paid sick days and increased workforce development funding.
- Reinvest in Public Services by prioritizing repair of crumbling streets and infrastructure in flatland communities and increased funding of summer youth programs.
- Reinvest in Equity and Culture by prioritizing additional funding to adequately staff the Department of Race and Equity and increasing funding for arts and culture.
Make It Fair, the budget ask and a fair public lands policy resonated with Oakland voters. Due to the current national political climate, voters in Oakland and beyond take pride in advancing local policies that will push back against the national right-wing agenda. Voters clearly made a direct connection between corporations paying their fair share of taxes and increased funding for local services. They also sent a clear message to the Mayor and City Councilmembers for their support of a community-first budget and policy that prioritizes people over profit-driven development.
Stay tuned as we move forward with this information to fight for the passage of a People’s budget and corporate property tax reform.
Oakland, CA 94612
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Oakland Rising is a project from our hearts for the people of Oakland. Thank you for your contribution!