Skip to content

San Francisco Still Tax-Happy?

1 min readBy: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

The New York Times explores why San Francisco seems to be okay with raising the sales taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. (making half of a 1 point reduction in the state sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. scheduled to occur on July 1):

The taxes-before-layoffs ethos reflects the cultural divide between San Francisco and, well, pretty much anywhere else. The city “is tax happy,” said Scott Macdonald, a spokesman for Californians for Tax Fairness. “Taxes are not such an ugly term there as elsewhere in the state.”

Mr. Lee hardly stands alone. Local politicians are hustling to invent or support new, creative ways to raise taxes. A proposed state law that would enable voters to create new local taxes, including an income tax, drew a John F. Kennedy-esque campaign e-mail from Dennis Herrera, promoting the idea as “government’s last, best hope.” (Mr. Herrera, the city attorney, is running for mayor.)[…]

Normally, business groups like the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce express knee-jerk opposition to tax increases. But James Lazarus, who oversees the chamber’s public-policy efforts, appeared at a press conference with Mr. Leno in support of his proposal. Mr. Lazarus said that the chamber supported the measure because the city did need to raise revenue and that the measure restored the license fee to its level of a decade ago. So it’s not really a new tax, as he looks at it – it’s a revival of an old one.

Read the whole piece here.