Proposition 15 will partially repeal the property tax limits of landmark Proposition 13 and impose a massive increase in commercial property taxation – a tax hike that will trickle down to small business owners in the form of higher rents, to consumers in the form of higher prices, and everyone in the form of few jobs and higher cost of living. It’s principal sponsor is the California Teachers Association, one of the most powerful special interests in the state.

And Anaheim Elementary School District Trustee Paolo Magcalas couldn’t be happier.

Magcalas represents Area 3 on the AESD Board of Education, and he is running for a second term. This is the first time he will actually face the voters: he was the only candidate in 2016 and so the election was canceled.

Magcalas, who until recently taught “Ethnic Studies” at Anaheim High School, is campaigning hard on social media for this $12 billion property tax increase. It appears unimaginable to him that anyone would be against hitting businesses and employers with a massive tax hike: he attacking his opponent, Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring, for opposing the Prop. 15:

Many Area 3 voters can probably imagine that Kring would view property and business owners as important to prosperity and economic opportunity, rather than cows to be milked for more tax dollars.

Magcalas posted this blatantly dishonest appeal to envy on his campaign Facebook page:

Magcalas claims the “average homeowner pays 8 times what Disneyland pays in property taxes” – which is blatantly untrue. Magcalas regurgitates a campaign talking point that is self-evidently false.  The Disneyland Resort pays more than $70 million in property taxes. It is the single largest taxpayer in Anaheim.  Yet, Magcalas would have voters believe the average homeowners pays 8 times that amount. He either knows he is misleading voters, or he’s really, really, really bad at math.

I posed questions on these claims to Trustee Magcalas via his officeholder Facebook page:

  • How does Disney “rob” OC of “$25 million a year”? How did you explain how you arrive at that figure? Are there taxes Disney is legally obligated to pay that it is not paying?
  • Given that the Disneyland Resort pays more than $70 million annually in property taxes – plainly far more than the average homeowner, by orders of magnitude – do you still stand by your claim?
I tried to post those as a comment on the Facebook post in question. However, Magcalas has now blocked me from his campaign Facebook page, since I commented on it yesterday with a different question. He also deleted the question.
Transparency in action.
We’ll see if Magcalas responds.
Magcalas is a career government employee, generally shielded from the vicissitudes of the marketplace and protected by teacher tenure laws. Perhaps he just doesn’t understand how taxation effects the economy and how businesses operate.
At the beginning of the year, Magcalas held a re-election fundraiser at Modern Filipino Kitchen in Anaheim.  Monthly lease payments are among the fixed costs the restaurant has to cover in order to stay in business. Nearly all businesses that are tenants pay what is called a “triple net lease” – property owners pass their property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs directly to the tenants.
If Prop. 15 passes, then Modern Filipino Kitchen’s landlord will have his or her property reassessed at current market value – and the landlord will pass that property tax increase on to the restaurant owner in the form of higher rent, which in turn cuts into the restaurant’s bottom line and profit margin. Generally speaking, business tenants will respond by raising their prices and/or cutting overhead elsewhere, including wages and hours.
Has this even occurred to Magcalas? Or is the prospect of using government to seize the wealth of others override any concern for how it harms small business owners?