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Can Gov. Jerry Brown rebuild public education in California?

7:30 AM EST, February 8, 2013

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California Gov. Jerry Brown has done a lot to finally balance his state's budget, but his greatest challenge still lies ahead ("Jerry Brown: A survivor at the top of his game," Feb. 3).

In 1978, during Mr. Brown's first term as governor, he helped pass Proposition 13, a property tax cap that has mostly benefited large corporations at the expense of California's once elite education system.

Since the passage of Proposition 13, California schools have gone from the best in the country to 49th in education spending. This has been a devastating price to pay for saving corporations money on property taxes.

Is it fair that a corporation as wealthy as Disney still pays property tax rates from the 1970s? According to the legislative analysts office, removing large commercial properties like Disney from the Proposition 13 exemption would restore $4.5 billion per year to California's budget, $2 billion of which would go to the state's struggling public schools.

It is time for Mr. Brown to step up and lead the fight against corporate lobbyists. It is time to reform Proposition 13 and restore our education system to being the model for the nation that it once was.

Ian Fregosi, San Francisco

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