Nonprofits, small property owners say they can’t afford SoMa special tax district

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

A years-long effort to create a special tax district to fund quality of life and safety efforts in the South of Market neighborhood ran into opposition from small business and nonprofit operators on Tuesday who said the proposed taxes were too high.

“The [CBD] will cost us over $30,000 a year in fee assessments,” said Alexandra Goldman, of the nonprofit affordable housing provider Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We’d rather invest that money back into our buildings.”

The SoMa West Community Benefit District would span an area roughly encompassed by Mission, 13th, Division, Townsend and Fifth streets and South Van Ness Avenue, and was approved by some 56 percent of business and property owners who turned in ballots throughout the day on Tuesday…

But Supervisor Matt Haney, who said he supports the special district, asked the Board of Supervisors to delay a vote scheduled for Tuesday to March 5 to buy time to come to “a solution of how we can assess affordable housing appropriately.”…

District 6 already is home to six CBDs — Civic Center, Tenderloin, Central Market, Yerba Buena, Union Square and the East Cut… (more)

How many taxes do you pay now? More higher costs of living through neighborhood parcel taxes (CBDs) that are coming your way to pay for the services we thought the city is paying for, like street cleaning and security. This sounds a disturbing message. If you want police and clean streets you have to pay for it because the city isn’t going to any more.

 

Once more unto the breach: The fate of Prop. C is now wholly in the lawyers’ hands

By : missionlocal – excerpt

Mayor Breed’s gesture aiding Prop. C, the homeless measure she opposed means less than you think. But, also, more.

The election is over. The winners have won, the losers have receded, and, as is the tradition, the losers’ backers will now make donations to the winners. This is how politicos who bet on the wrong horse get their phone calls answered and winning candidates chip away at their debts.

There are, however, some debts that can’t be repaid with mere money… (more)

Square CEO Jack Dorsey’s tax fight goes beyond Prop. C

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Even before Square CEO Jack Dorsey publicly sparred with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff over the homeless tax measure facing voters Tuesday, his company was already embroiled in another tax dispute in San Francisco.

Dorsey, who is also the CEO of Twitter, has publicly discussed his opposition to Proposition C and the impacts it will have on Square, an online payment company.

Less well known is that his company was already trying to pay fewer taxes in San Francisco, according to Square’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those filings show that Treasurer and Tax Collector José Cisneros audited Square’s tax payments for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 and determined the company failed to pay the full amount owed to The City…

The filings said that Cisneros “believes the Company’s primary business activity is financial services rather than information services.”

“We disagree with the Tax Collector’s position,” Square said in the filings… (more)

Puzzling logic in arguments against tax on big businesses to aid homeless

: sfchronicle – excerpt

A slick campaign piece landed in my mailbox the other day, screaming in all capital letters: “Prop. C would spend another $300 million a year on the same failed programs.”

You know, those failed programs that produced the scenes depicted in the mailer’s photographs. The ones of Third World-style tent shantytowns spread along sidewalks in the Mission, with bicycle parts and shopping carts strewn around…

Prop. C is a simple concept, and one that’s getting big-name support. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Rep. Jackie Speier, Assemblyman Phil Ting and seven supervisors support it…

Breed says she opposes Prop. C because she’s not confident the city is spending its money on homelessness effectively, though she didn’t express that concern in backing the two previous revenue measures. Her spokesman, Jeff Cretan, said the mayor’s budget office is analyzing the city’s homeless funding and how it’s being used…

OK, so the programs are successful but they’re also failures. But, really, we don’t know either way and have to audit them. We need more money, but not from the cities’ biggest businesses that can most easily afford it.

Are you confused by the No on C side? I am. Maybe I just need some time to meditate in an infrared sauna… (more)

Regional housing tax in the works — 9-county agency looks to raise $1.5 billion a year

By Eliane Goodman : padailypost – excerpt

A group that wants to increase the housing supply in the Bay Area is looking at ways to fund its efforts, which could potentially include a sales tax increase, an employer “head count” tax, or a tax on vacant houses.

Those are a few of the ideas under review by CASA, or Committee to House the Bay Area. The group was formed last year by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional planning agency for the nine-county Bay Area. CASA has roughly 50 members that include local government officials and representatives of businesses and nonprofits.
CASA is proposing a multi-pronged approach to the region’s housing crisis that it calls the “three P’s”: producing more housing at all levels of affordability, preserving existing affordable housing, and protecting residents at risk of losing their housing…

‘Share the pain’… (more)

‘Share the pain’ is the worst argument for raising taxes or changing lifestyles. For those of us who know the history of SOMA there is a certain irony in this request, but, no thanks, I am not a masochist. If you are, stay and complain, if not, move. Don’t inflict your lifestyle on me and I will not inflict mine on you.

RELATED:
MTC CASA technical committee hopes to raise billions from Bay Area taxpayers
(Includes video links of the MTC CASA meeting): https://sfceqa.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/mtc-casa-technical-committee-hopes-to-raise-billions-from-bay-area-taxpayers/

A few taxpayer victories in an anti-taxpayer California Legislature

By Jon Coupal : ocregister – excerpt

Ronald Reagan once said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” With a record $130 billion budget, we know that California state legislators are adept at all three practices, but none more so than taxes.

Democrats in Sacramento spent 2017 jamming three separate tax and fuel-cost hikes into law. They renewed the cap-and-trade program, continuing a multi-billion-dollar increase in fuel costs that brings in state revenue to fund high-speed rail. They invented a new tax on recorded documents that is supposed to fund affordable housing. And of course the SB 1 gas and car tax increase was said to be needed to fund road repair, even though billions of dollars have been diverted away from maintenance over the last decade. In the midst of an $8 billion surplus, Sacramento was steadily increasing taxes.

But fortunately, 2018 hasn’t been as dreadful for taxpayers as 2017. Here’s a sample of the proposals that, for now, have failed to pass:.

Senate Bill 794 would impose a new three percent tax on fireworks at the point of sale…

Assembly Bill 2497 would impose an as-yet-undefined tax on guns and ammunition to fund school resource counselors and police officers…

AB 2303 and AB 2560 would create a new tax of up to ten percent on small business vendors who contract out either with private prisons or with the California Department of Corrections…

Senate Bill 623 would establish a precedent-setting tax on residential water use. For now, local water agencies have joined with taxpayer advocates to vigorously fight this levy…

Assembly Bill 2486 would impose a $100 million tax on opioid manufacturers and distributors to fund prevention and treatment programs…

Senate Bill 993 is the latest version of a proposal to extend the sales tax to services, generating $100 billion in new tax revenue that would be lifted from the wallets of consumers…

Beyond politics, we can thank Proposition 13 and its constitutional protections, which require all taxes to receive a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature…

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association... (more)

 

Breed’s oddly conservative attack on income taxes

tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supes will start to look at Trump’s budget after board prez makes surprisingly conservative speech against progressive taxes

So now we know for sure what Donald Trump and the Republicans have in mind for their first budget:  Cut everything that is good for cities, for the environment, and for poor and working-class people, and give more money to the rich and the military. (Oh, and to his weekends in Florida, which will cost the government more than the cuts to senior services and the arts.).

We don’t know exactly yet how much this will cost San Francisco, but it’s going to be a big number. And equally important, San Francisco will need to spend more money, not less, on protecting vulnerable communities; just think about health care, and how many more people will be lining up at SF General if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

So far, the mayor hasn’t said much about how he’s going to address the problem, but we will hear from his office, and from the controller, Thursday/23 at a special Budget and Finance Subcommittee hearing. It starts at 1pm in the Board chambers…

Today, San Francisco has some of the worst economic inequality in history, and is up there with countries like Rwanda for radical gaps between the rich and the poor. It’s an embarrassment – and one reason for the high housing costs and huge numbers of homeless people on the streets…(more)

There are a few ideas floating around City Hall about raising revenues, most having to do with increasing taxes one way or another. It will be interesting to see which scheme wins approval at City Hall this time. It will also be interesting to see how the voters feel about taxing themselves. Rejection of the sales tax increase proved that. They seem more likely to favor increasing taxes on the wealthy. The hungry SFMTA may have to take a seat in the back if voters find it more important to replace federal funding for health care, housing and food. There is also widespread concern over loss of funding for the environment, education and the arts.

 

Voters had no stomach for raising sales tax last time they faced that choice. So far they seem to favor taxing the rich. Of course a lot of these options depend on changes in Sacramento. We anticipate a lot of public debate before this is settled. Outrageously high public servant salaries (over 100K plus 50K in benefits) do not help City Hall’s argument that it needs more money. The high salaries add to the pension problem that we know is looming large. These are issues that should be addressed before City Hall asks for more taxes.

There’s something about Carmen

By Joel P. Engardio : sfexaminer – excerpt

Shrugs abound when asking people on the street what they know about the Office of Assessor-Recorder at City Hall. Someone joked the title is obscure enough for its occupant to be the “Designated Survivor” of local government — like Kiefer Sutherland on the hit TV show.
Yet Carmen Chu is poised to become the assessor-recorder everyone knows and celebrates
Chu’s fiscal acumen will help us survive President Donald Trump’s retribution if he withholds a billion dollars in federal funding because San Francisco defied his executive order against sanctuary cities.
Charged with valuing San Francisco’s 208,496 properties, Chu’s office generates more than $2.6 billion in annual property tax revenue for city services. She collected $274 million in transfer taxes alone last year, which can pay for a lot of what Trump threatens to take away.
“I am committed to protecting the rights of our immigrant families, women, LGBT communities and the 90,000 San Franciscans who receive Obamacare,” Chu said. “The City is already estimating a $400 million deficit over the next two years, which doesn’t include what we might lose from a Trump administration. This means every penny counts.”…
It would be easier for San Francisco to defy Trump, stay true to our values and endure a loss of federal dollars if we weren’t also facing a deficit of our own making.
We could have used recent boom years to save more money and shrink City Hall through innovation and efficiency. Instead, we let The City’s budget double the past decade to $9.6 billion, we increased the number of city employees to 30,000 (one for every 28 residents) and we didn’t adequately plan for unfunded healthcare liabilities that are ballooning out of control.
Now, we will be forced to cut the budget. But Chu is doing everything in her power to hold the largest taxpayers accountable so those cuts aren’t as painful…
Let’s hope San Francisco benefits a long time from Chu’s wisdom to diagnose a problem, her determination to solve it and her competence to achieve results.…  (more)

There is a saying that a good manager is invisible. That may be a good sign that Carmen is doing a great job of running her department. No word of discord or dissent. No complaints that we know of. She must be doing something right. She is one of the easier people to work with in City Hall. Our thanks to Carmen. Keep up the good work.