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San Francisco Commercial Tax Hike Proposed

by Scott Donald, Irvine, February 2018


A proposed tax increase on commercial property will be on San Francisco's June 5 ballot. If approved by two-thirds of voters, the initiative would impose an additional tax of 1.7 percent on gross receipts from the lease of commercial space in the city.


Property owners making less than $1 million per year in rent payments would be exempt from the new tax. There would also be exemptions for space rented for production, distribution, repair, retail sales, entertainment, and nonprofit uses.


Housing for All


The ballot measure called Housing for All would raise about $100 million a year. Supervisors want to earmark the additional taxes to build more affordable housing and shelter accommodations for the homeless.


"For us, the supervisors, we have to address the crisis of the day. And the crisis of the day revolves around housing, housing, housing," Supervisor Ahsha Safai told the San Francisco Gate. "Teachers, janitors, firefighters, nurses - we want all of them to be able to live in this city."


Competing Measure


Another ballot initiative may also be on the ballot. Other city leaders are proposing a plan to raise the same gross receipts tax by 3.5 percent to expand subsidies for child care.


"Our child-care measure focuses on enrolling all San Francisco infants and toddlers in early education programs so more families aren't forced out of our city," Supervisor Jane Kim said in a text message.


The same tax cannot be increased twice. So if both measures end up on the ballot, the one with the most votes will become law.