A statewide coalition will work to educate California opinion leaders and the public about the devastating impacts of increasing property taxes, the group announced today.

The coalition, Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, will inform lawmakers and the public about the importance of Proposition 13’s protections for California families and small businesses. The California Apartment Association is a member of the coalition.

To that end, the group, including organizations that represent businesses and taxpayers, will provide studies, analyses and other information.

A key goal is to raise awareness about how proposals for higher property taxes, including “split roll” and parcel taxes, would burden small businesses, consumers, families and seniors — and damage California’s overall economy.

“Protecting Proposition 13 is vital to keeping property taxes affordable for California families and businesses,” said Allan Zaremberg, who co-chairs the coalition and serves as president of the California Chamber of Commerce. “We need jobs, not job-killing tax increases, higher rents and higher property taxes. Prop. 13 must be protected and efforts to increase property taxes must be stopped.”

Many small businesses rent their spaces and don’t own the property. Most leases held by small businesses include provisions requiring them to pay the property taxes associated with their space, the coalition says in a news release. These businesses already operate on thin profit margins so they would be forced to cut wages, pass the higher costs on to consumers, lay off employees or even shut their doors, the statement says.

Darrel Feil, owner of Abate-A-Weed in Bakersfield, adds: “Higher property taxes would hurt my businesses. I fully support Prop. 13 and appreciate the protections that it provides to small businesses like mine.”

Voters approved Prop. 13 by a 65 percent vote in 1978 to protect property owners from drastically increasing property taxes that had threatened the existence of small business and the ability of families to stay in their homes. Prop. 13 has worked well over the years, the coalition says, providing a stable, consistent, and growing revenue stream for local government and the state.