New business tax heads to SF’s ballot — this time for public companies
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco voters will be asked in November whether the city should tax public companies that offer stock-based compensation to their employees — an effort supporters say would bolster city revenue and plug the massive budget deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Supervisor Gordon Mar originally introduced the ballot measure last year when major tech companies like Uber, Lyft and Pinterest were preparing to enter the public market. The wave of IPOs was initially expected to inject so much wealth in San Francisco that many in City Hall worried it would increase the existing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Now, San Francisco is grappling with a decimated economy and record unemployment due to COVID-19. Mar, who signed the measure onto the ballot with three co-sponsors Tuesday, said the city must have “every option on the table to increase city revenue and preserve vital services and programs.”
“At the start of a recession, with an exploding unemployment crisis, in the midst of a global pandemic, we have to be bold, and we have to be clear in rejecting long-term austerity cuts to vital programs as a solution,” Mar said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
The measure is expected to generate $50 million to $150 million annually, which Mar said would be used to address the city’s long-term deficit.