SFist was having trouble getting to sleep last night, and we figured that short of the narcotics available down the street, actually reading the MTA's recently approved Fiscal Year 2006 budget would probably do the trick. We figured maybe an insomniac blogger could find something juicy that would really piss people off, like the two-dollar hike for cable car fares. Will the remaining locals who ride the cable car please step away from the platform.

Muni fare revenue accounts are estimated [PDF], with the increase, at being a little more than $110 million. Compare that to parking revenue, parking garage taxes and parking citations, which total add up to about the same amount (again, after the increases). Citations alone account for $80 million in revenue. For the first time in a long time, we're going to have to agree with Matt Smith. If drivers were paying market-rate for their metered parking, the $50 million shortfall would vanish along with the cloud of exhaust lingering over Market.

Another document we reviewed was Muni's ideas for increasing revenue in the long term [PDF]. Of course, why nobody came up with these ideas or acted on them the last time they raised the fare is seriously beyond us. But the fact is that the majority of Muni riders are on the bus to get to and from work, or to and from local businesses. We don't think it's anti-business to ask the employers and retailers of San Francisco to foot the bill for a city service that delivers workers and shoppers to their doors. Bad ideas include raising the sales tax even further. Sales taxes are, like Muni fares, a very regressive tax that are felt most by the lower and middle classes, who spend a huge percentage of their income on taxable goods.

If you, like SFist, fear that the working class is being slowly priced out of the city, then these are the reasons why. It's easier to nickel and dime the middle class than it is to fight with established business interests, because the folks down at City Hall don't get the majority of their campaign contributions from people struggling to come up with an extra fifty cents each day for a roundtrip to their job.

Photo by Chaffee Yiu.