Championing Schools & Communities in California’s Yes on Prop. 15

In the 2020 cycle, N&P partner Cristina Parrinello led the research efforts for the Yes on Proposition 15 initiative to close corporate property tax loopholes established in 1978’s Prop. 13.

Our team sought to expose the cost of the loopholes to schools and community services. Utilizing county assessor data, we identified severely under-assessed properties—including luxury hotels, oil fields, movie studios, country clubs, skyscrapers, and Silicon Valley tech company campuses—and estimated the taxes counties could recover under Prop. 15. These analyses were the basis for earned media and editorials in major media outlets throughout the state.

Our team brought to light vulnerabilities regarding the opposition’s leadership and major funders, including ties to Trump and other extreme right-wingers, out of state companies exploiting the California system, and the malfeasance of donors among the state’s largest landowners.

While the proposition was ultimately unsuccessful, we challenged “the third rail of California politics” during an unprecedented global pandemic—and all the financial impacts to corporations that entails—and came out with 48% of the vote. We believe the groundwork we laid will be critical for future challenges.