Though Proposition 15 is still alive for now, several political consultants offered their thoughts on why the tax on commercial property has been trailing. Capitol Weekly hosted the discussion last week.

“Our job as initiative consultants is to attach [the voter’s] brain to his heart,” said Brandon Castillo of the public affairs firm Bicker, Castillo & Fairbanks. “You always talk about how it affects your pocketbook.”

Castillo said the no campaign was effective in attaching Prop. 15 to residential homes in arguing that would be next. Mary-Beth Moylan, an associate dean at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, added that they were persuasive in arguing it would hurt small businesses as well, passing the cost on to the average consumer. The message was: “It's going to hit your pocketbook down the line.”

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Communications consultant Robin Swanson said new taxes are a hard sell right now. This is why the yes campaign had to make the case that schools, fire departments and other public services “desperately needed these funds now more than ever.” She also warned that other parts of the state don’t vote in a monolith.

“California isn't a big blue banner. There is a whole central valley that we all have to pay attention to,” she said.