TAX NEWS - JUNE 2010

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San Fransisco Tax: Tax plans floated

San Francisco supervisors introduced three tax measures Tuesday for consideration of placement on the November ballot. The revenue proposals target property owners, drivers and businesses, and are intended to pump more money into city government to preserve services and jobs.

The supervisors have until late July to decide which, if any, proposals to place on the ballot.

"Before the mayor or the business community overreacts, I want to note two things," said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. "First of all, we are not going to move forward on all of these revenue proposals. This is part of a deliberative, transparent process. We are going to consider these various items. We'll winnow down the proposals that make the most sense and create the most consensus here in San Francisco."

Secondly, he said, city employees have agreed to concessions worth more than $250 million over two years to help balance the budget, "and we hope that all San Franciscans do their part."

Mayor Gavin Newsom's spokesman, Tony Winnicker, wasted no time criticizing the proposed tax proposals, saying the budget can be balanced without them and without deep service cuts. "We can't afford to smother our economic recovery with an avalanche of taxes," he said.

Chiu is sponsoring legislation to impose a tax on commercial rents, which would capture some businesses, most notably banks and insurance companies, which state law now exempts from San Francisco business payroll tax.

Supervisor John Avalos called for increasing the real property transfer tax on certain properties; and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, in cooperation with the Municipal Transportation Agency, introduced legislation to boost the city's parking tax, which is now 25 percent, to 35 percent. It also would apply the tax to valet parking.

Mirkarimi said the plan would raise an additional $24 million a year, 80 percent of which would go to Muni.
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