Yes on Measure EE

KAREN AND JONATHAN SARROW

Passing Measure EE in LA would place a modest, $0.16/sqf progressive tax on property to fund public education in Los Angeles.  A new tax in California can only pass with a super majority—we need every eligible voter to mail-in their ballot, or show up at the polls on June 4. 

It takes courage, civility, and trust to vote for Measure EE.  We can add value to public education in L.A., but we have to vote for it.  This is for the future success of L.A.’s children and is particularly necessary in vulnerable neighborhoods.

Many people can find a thousand reasons to vote against any tax. It’s jarring to read unfair criticisms of LAUSD from opponents of Measure EE.  They are telling us that money won’t help Education. Don’t believe your own eyes, they contend, money won’t help.  What??  The truth is, big L.A. businesses don’t want to pay the progressive tax proposal on the ballot; the L.A. Chamber of Commerce instead suggested a ‘flat’ parcel tax, where large businesses would pay the exact same amount as a 900 square foot home.  This is the definition of a regressive tax. This will no doubt be what big businesses will fight for, if Measure EE fails.  This reminds us of the anti-tax tactics used during the 2016 primary, we had a Democratic staffer “inform” us that free college would hurt the poor. That’s anti-tax propaganda. Instead of providing support for our school system, and actionable solutions, opponents have resorted to demonizing LAUSD and Measure EE.

LAUSD needs money to hire  teachers to reduce classroom sizes, and to hire more nurses and librarians, and create safer environments.  Children need to learn in quiet and small classes, and frequently need new books.  We can vote now by mail, or on June 4, to improve our entire public school system, and make it more accountable, Measure EE requires annual public auditing. 

Our public school system in L.A is underfunded.  New York and New Jersey public students receive twice as much funding per pupil as our public school students, and it shows. New Jersey has leading developmental teaching programs, as well as permanent nurses, school-provided tutors and staff. New York has built a record number of new schools and hired more teachers. Our children were safe and cared for in those healthy schools, funded by property owners, when we lived there for almost three years.  This is why our family understands the incalculable ways that public school funding makes a positive difference for kids. 

It’s time for us Angelenos to value education as much as the people in New York and New Jersey do, by paying property taxes.  Because we are such a wealthy city, Measure EE is an opportunity for L.A. to elevate our education system with a modest tax that raises half a billion dollars each year.  We don’t know of any other ballot issue that helps ease wealth inequality in L.A.  Measure EE is a start. The Trump tax bill has given billionaires windfall tax breaks, and L.A. is one of the few places that billionaires can buy $6 million dollar homes.  We need to vote to fund public education, because billionaires won’t. 

City and State leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, Governor Gavin Newsom, and U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, support Measure EE as they know the acute need for additional funding for education.  Opponents of EE have not put alternatives on the ballot, just critical opposition and denial of the transparent plan that was hammered out by teachers and the district, with help from the Mayor and the Governor.  LAUSD is already showing their commitment to fiscal responsibility by contracting an extensive savings analysis of their budget with Ernst & Young.  Although this plan puts LAUSD on better financial footing, the savings identified by Ernst & Young does not cover projected deficits, we need Measure EE to improve our schools.

Angelenos now have a chance to vote for substantive change, to begin solving one long-standing systemic problem: Underfunded schools in Los Angeles.  

LAUSD is the public school system we have, so let’s come together as businesses, homeowners, and a city, and fund our public schools with a strong and healthy tax base.

We have a lot of work to do to improve the lives of all the people in our country, let’s start at home, let’s make history in L.A. and fund a new property tax on education.

Please Vote YES for better public education in L.A. Please Vote YES on Measure EE