Realtors’ Prop 5 Tax Break for Wealthy Property Owners Suffers Crushing Defeat at Polls

Sacramento, CA, Nov. 6, 2018 – Health care workers, educators, firefighters and the No on Prop 5 coalition dealt a significant blow to the California Association of Realtors’ agenda today, resoundingly defeating CAR’s initiative to shift dollars from classrooms, health care and emergency services into the pockets of wealthy property owners and the real estate industry. In early returns the measure was trailing 58 to 42.

The grassroots No on 5 coalition overcame $12.7 million raised by the real estate industry on Prop 5, which would have drained $1 billion each from schools and local services annually to give new tax breaks to the state’s wealthiest property owners in the State.

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“The California Association of Realtors picked the wrong fight when they went after school children and services that our communities count on, from fire and emergency response to health care,” said Alma Hernandez, Executive Director, SEIU California.  “Our coalition will be relentless in protecting education, health care, emergency response and other vital services from any new attacks.”

The No on Prop 5 campaign was effective at beating back the Realtor’s false claims about the measure, as well as the underlying premise that tax breaks targeted at the wealthiest property owners would trickle down to benefit first time buyers and renters.   Housing experts blasted the idea that tax giveaways would “unlock” the housing market as Realtors claimed. An independent analysis showed that the benefits of Prop 5 would go to Californians who tended to be wealthy, white, and already gaining hefty benefits from existing tax policy. Editorial boards throughout the State called the measure “self serving,” “cynical” and a “sham.” Seniors decried the real estate industry’s use of older Californians as “pawns” to sell more, expensive houses. Firefighters called claims Prop 5 would protect wildfire victims entirely disingenuous, noting the impact of the measure would be to reduce fire and emergency response services, putting more Californians at risk in a disaster.

“Time and again California voters have stood in support of their community’s public students and educators to ensure they have the resources and services they need that will put our students on a path to success,” said Eric Heins, President, California Teachers’ Association. “Educators are proud to have helped lead the No on Prop 5 campaign to protect our classrooms and other vital services.”

With the Realtors having collected signatures for a similar measure in 2020, coalition members announced they will leave open a campaign committee to be ready to swiftly respond to future threats to schools and crucial services, and to combat the kind of misinformation the Realtors used in their failing campaign this year.

“The threat posed by Prop. 5 to critical services like fire and law enforcement was real,” said Brian Rice, president of California Professional Firefighters. “We’re grateful to the voters for seeing through this self-interested proposal and plan to remain vigilant against any future proposals that threaten the Californians that count on us.”

“Today’s decisive defeat sends a strong message to the California Association Realtors that voters won’t tolerate self-interested initiatives that attack the critical local services that strengthen our communities,” said Graham Knaus, Executive Director of the California State Association of Counties.