Candidates in key state, regional and local races tell us where they stand on important issues
San Jose, CA – October 12, 2020 – On September 1, 2020, the Leadership Group sent out a questionnaire to candidates running for local, county, and state offices on the November ballot. Candidates from throughout the Bay Area answered questions that were not only relevant to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s policy priorities, but also important to those who work and live in the greater Silicon Valley.
The questionnaire – a collaborative internal project of all nine Silicon Valley Leadership policy groups, spearheaded by Government Relations – was an effort to better inform the general public and the media on candidate positions. Out of 81 questionnaires sent, 31 candidates responded.
Many organizations, including business, labor, environment, and others, send out Candidate Questionnaires. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is one of the few to make our questions – and candidate responses – public documents. While this is rarely done by other groups, the SVLG leadership believes strongly that both our questions and the candidates’ answers should be as open and transparent as possible.
Some takeaways from the questionnaire include:
Candidates were mixed on Proposition 15, which would revise Prop 13, the 1978 law limiting property tax increases, by allowing for more frequent reassessments of commercial property. Statewide, the measure would increase property taxes by an estimated $8 billion to $12.5 billion annually, according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office. Under Prop. 15, 60% of the new revenue would go to cities and counties, and the rest to school districts.
Candidates were overwhelmingly in support of Prop 16, which would lift California’s constitutional ban on race-based and sex-based affirmative action in public university admissions and government contracting and hiring.
Candidates were unanimously in support of Measure RR, the three-county sales tax measure to fund Caltrain. The measure, which must be passed by voters in Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, would increase sales taxes by one-eighth of a cent to raise $100 million annually for the rail system. The measure needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
Candidates were overwhelmingly in favor of Measure S, which would raise approximately $45.5 million each year for Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program by charging property owners a parcel tax of approximately three-fifths of a cent per square foot. Residents of single-family homes, and multi-family homes with no more than four units, on parcels no larger than a quarter-acre, would pay $67.67 a year. This amount would be adjusted annually to account for inflation. Measure S is similar to 2012’s Measure B, which it replaces, except that it eliminates the sunset date.
Click on this link for the full 2020 Candidate Questionnaire Report. The report includes a downloadable PDF of the full report, and links to individual races of your choice.
Aakash Vashee, Senior Associate, Government Relations, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
About the Silicon Valley Leadership Group:
The Leadership Group, founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, represents more than 340 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers on issues and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley, including education, energy, environment, equity, health, housing, tax policies, tech and innovation and transportation. Leadership Group members collectively provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy. For more information, visit svlg.org.