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published on November 4, 2020 - 10:34 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

California voters weighed in on a number of propositions that would have consequences on the business community on Tuesday.

Split-roll property tax

Proposition 15 changes the way commercial property is assessed for tax purposes in California, peeling back protections created by Prop. 13 in 1978 to keep property taxes lower for residential and commercial properties. Passage of Prop. 15 would require county tax assessors to revise the value of business properties to reflect current market prices. It applies to property worth $3 million or more. Farmland is exempt, though ag processing facilities wouldn’t be exempt.

With 99% of precincts partially reporting results, Prop. 15 was failing with 51.7% voting “no” and 48.3% voting “yes,” according to the California Secretary of State.

Gig drivers as contractors

Proposition 22 carves out an exemption for app-based, ride-hailing and delivery services to be classified as contractors and not employees of companies such as Uber and Lyft. Both companies threatened to pull their services out of California if they lost this measure. The companies spent $200 million to put Prop. 22 on the ballot to circumvent Assembly Bill 5, which restricts employer classification of contract workers.

As of Wednesday morning, Prop. 22 appeared to be heading to victory, with 58.4% voting “yes.”

Rent control for California

Proposition 21 would have expanded governments’ authority to enact rent control on various forms of housing. Voters rejected a similar rent control measure in 2018.

As of Wednesday morning, the measure was failing with 59.8% voting “no.”

Amended privacy laws

Proposition 24 expands on the existing California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which governs how businesses safeguard the personal information of California consumers. It orders that certain information — such as driver’s license and social security numbers — be protected. This means steeper fines for security breaches for businesses with minors’ information. This penalty can range anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500. Among other new requirements, it also demands businesses provide regular cybersecurity audits and risk assessments, the right for consumers to correct their data and the ability to browse with no pop-ups.

Prop. 24 appears headed to victory with 56.1% of the vote.

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