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California’s Split Roll Requires Political Activism in 2020

By Dennis Kaiser

There has never been an election year more relevant to the CRE industry than 2020 in California. Despite debates over elected offices and the presidential primary, a heated battle is also expected over the push to end Proposition 13 tax protections from commercial property. On November 3, the battle over ‘split roll tax,’ also known as the Schools and Communities First Initiative, will be front-and-center.

In our latest CRE Q&A, Connect Media spoke with Coreland Companies’ Ben Terry, Vice President, Retail Brokerage, who encourages everyone in CRE to become an advocate in 2020.

Ben Terry

Q: What are the biggest threats in the fight against split roll in 2020?
The commercial real estate industry has fantastic advocacy groups, like ICSC and the CPBA, working on our behalf in the fight against Split Roll Tax, but we cannot solely rely on their work. Each of us has to become a grassroot advocate within our own communities, especially when the opposition is promoting a ‘Schools and Communities First” campaign. We must work to explain the devastating effects split roll will have on a very local level for retailers.

Q: What are some of the most critical points to share?
Top of the list for me is getting your community to understand the tremendous impact on small business. It might seem as if small businesses are exempt, but that is overlooking the fact that most small businesses rent the property on which they operate on an NNN basis. The additional taxes levied on property ownership will be directly passed onto each business owner per the NNN lease terms. California small business owners will not be able to support the increase and neither will their customers, especially in an industry fighting flat consumer spending.

Q: What is at stake if this proposition passes?
If passed, the outcome will create uncertainty about commercial property tax rates going forward, destroying commercial property values and substantially increasing rents on all retailers, big and small alike. This will alter the nature of tax policy and commercial development in California for years to come.

Q: With a year before the election, what can each of us do?
Talk, talk, talk. It is our obligation to share what we know, and explain the issues in a way that is easier to understand for those not involved in the commercial real estate industry.

There are also so many resources to take advantage of. Email, post and direct contacts to good resources, like Stop Higher Property Taxes and the ICSC Split Roll Tax Brief.

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For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser


Inside The Story

Connect With Coreland Companies’ Terry

About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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