Mark Zuckerberg’s $11 million push to change California tax policy ended in failure. It’s the latest rebuke of the Facebook CEO’s efforts to enter politics. (FB)

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Mark Zuckerberg’s latest million-dollar attempt to get into politics has again fallen short.

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, spent nearly $11 million backing Proposition 15, a California ballot measure to raise property taxes on large businesses to find public schools and local government. The Associated Press projected last week that Prop 15 failed to capture support at the polls, marking Zuckerberg’s latest costly foray into politics as Facebook struggles itself to tackle political content.

The $10.8 million injection came by way of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization Zuckerberg and Chan founded in 2015 to champion their advocacy work and spread some of their billions of dollars in wealth. However, Zuckerberg and CZI’s early involvement in Prop 15, tracing back to early 2018, raises questions about whether the support of the high-profile and much criticized CEO hindered or helped the ballot measure.

A representative for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative did not respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

Worth more than $101 billion, according to Forbes, Zuckerberg has made hefty donations over the years through CZI, Facebook and in his own name toward various political and advocacy efforts. He’s shown particular interest in public-health and public-education initiatives. He donated $75 million in 2015 to San Francisco’s largest public hospital, which was then renamed Zuckerberg San Francisco General. He gave $100 million to help public schools in Newark, New Jersey in 2010, and helped launch an immigration-reform PAC called in 2012.

With this history of philanthropic advocacy, Zuckerberg’s support of Proposition 15 makes sense. The measure was designed to raise as much as $12.5 billion a year for local governments and schools by getting ride of a longtime limit on property-tax raises in California to require large land-owning businesses (including Facebook) to pay more.

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But few of Zuckerberg’s advocacy efforts have seen success, and instead have been marred by controversy. Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of these efforts, and others have pushed back at any attachment to Facebook’s controversial CEO and founder. The failure of Prop 15 is only the latest example.

The Zuckerberg-named San Francisco hospital has faced criticism of its costly billing practices, exposed last year in a bombshell Vox investigation in which one woman said she faced an unexpected $20,000 in emergency-room costs. Despite Zuckerberg’s little involvement with the hospital except for loaning his name, some San Francisco officials have pushed to rename it amid criticism of Facebook’s handling of hate speech.

Zuckerberg’s attempts at education reform have not fared much better. Although Zuckerberg’s involvement in Newark’s schools was initially lauded in 2010, critics have argued the funding has made little substantive change and failed to consult the city’s existing network of education advocates. One of CZI’s biggest education initiatives, $100 million in grants to US public schools to implement an online-education platform called Summit Learning, has faced pushback in schools where it’s been implemented. Although the personalized learning approach was first celebrated, students soon complained of headaches and parents …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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