Update: Because of an incorrect hyperlink provided to EdSource, the version of this story published Jan. 30 was based on results of a previous survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. A revised story is below.

California voters remain supportive of spending for education as their top priority, according to a new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Some 81 percent of Californians (90 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans) say they support increasing state spending on K-12 education, according to the “Californians and their Government” survey. That’s nearly four times the support for increasing spending for prisons and corrections at 23 percent (25 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of Republicans but only 13 percent of Independents).

Voters also remain receptive to amending Proposition 13, the 1978 measure to restrict property taxes, to tax commercial properties according to their current market value – a switch that would raise more money from owners of businesses while leaving the rules on residential properties alone. Studies have shown that residential properties change hands more often than commercial properties, triggering more frequent reassessments and higher taxes. In the latest poll, consistent with polls over the past decade, 58 percent of all adults and 59 percent of likely voters favor the idea of amending the measure, while 36 percent oppose it. Support is highest in the Bay Area (66 percent) and lowest in Los Angeles (51 percent).

For full survey results, go here.

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  1. Paul 8 years ago8 years ago

    This survey presents a decidely mixed picture. Since at least the 1970s, California voters have chosen to starve the public school system of baseline operating and capital funds. People say that they care about education, but then they make political choices (general tax reduction/limitation measures, then temporary taxes) that undermine system stability. Other goodies -- The same voters who claim that they would like the state to spend more on education endorse limits on year-over-year spending growth. (Presumably, … Read More

    This survey presents a decidely mixed picture.

    Since at least the 1970s, California voters have chosen to starve the public school system of baseline operating and capital funds. People say that they care about education, but then they make political choices (general tax reduction/limitation measures, then temporary taxes) that undermine system stability.

    Other goodies —

    The same voters who claim that they would like the state to spend more on education endorse limits on year-over-year spending growth. (Presumably, the creators of the survey meant *stricter* limits, since we already have Jarvis-Gann.) These two positions are mutually exclusive.

    Survey respondents also strongly favor eliminating pensions for new public-sector workers (including teachers, presumably). This survey question is leading, because it calls a switch from defined benefit to defined contribution plans, and specifically for new employees, a “solution”. It is also misleading, because the suggested solution is not valid. Liabilities for current retirees and current employees, not for future employees, drive near-term pension plan costs.

    Finally, the survey draws a typical, and illusory, distinction between “residential and commercial” property. Apartments are commercial property, and renters, through their rent payments, are in the hook for these “commercial” property taxes. A split roll would be disastrous for California’s low- and moderate-income earners, who are renters.

    So what are we left with, in the end? Survey respondents want to spend more money on education while clamping annual spending increases and paying teachers (and other public-sector workers) less, and they want to raise rents. Yay!