Backers of the partial Proposition 13 repeal outside the Monroe Clark Middle School in San Diego. Courtesy Schools and Communities First

A ballot initiative that would repeal Proposition 13 for commercial properties was declared eligible for the 2020 presidential election ballot.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Mondayday afternoon that a random sampling showed the initiative had more than the 643,948 signatures required to be placed on the ballot.

The so-called “split roll” initiative would tax commercial and industrial properties at current fair-market value rather than the purchase price. An estimated $11 billion in annual proceeds would go 40 percent to schools and 60 percent to local governments.

It marks the first time in decades that voters would have a chance to change a key provision in Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 ballot measure that placed stringent caps on California property taxes, making them some of the lowest in the country for both residential and commercial property.

Backers of the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act include good-government groups like the League of Women Voters, social justice groups like the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and some prominent state and local teachers’ unions.

“It’s time to reclaim over $11 billion for schools and local communities and shape a new legacy of investment for CA,” backers tweeted after the initiative qualified.

The initiative is opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, which has said the higher taxes would “likely be passed on to consumers, or … businesses may shut their doors or relocate to states with a less hostile tax environment.”

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