A proposed payroll tax on San Francisco tech companies is already making enemies, and it's not even on the ballot yet. The Chronicle reports that the measure, introduced by Supervisor Eric Mar yesterday and co-sponsored by Aaron Peskin and David Campos, would impose a 1.5 percent payroll tax on tech companies with gross receipts over $1 million and has angered both Mayor Ed Lee and city business advocates.
“After five years of a rapid tech boom in The City that we are all aware of, it is time San Francisco’s big tech companies are paying their fair share to address the impacts of housing and homelessness in our city,” Eric Mar, referring to the fact that the projected $120 million in annual revenue generated by the measure would be spent on homeless services and housing, told the Examiner.
Lee, of course, has famously touted what he sees as the benefits of the 2011 "community benefit agreement" — commonly referred to as the Twitter tax break. While the measure encouraged tech companies to set up shop in SF, it was not without cost. In 2014 alone, for example, officials estimate it cost the city $34 million.
In conversation with the Chronicle, mayoral spokesperson Deirdre Hussey called Mar's proposal a “job-killing measure.” Supervisor Mark Farrell echoed that sentiment, telling the paper he thought it was “the worst idea I’ve heard in months.”
Meanwhile, Alex Tourk, a spokesperson for tech-advocacy group sf.citi complained even more aggressively to the Examiner. “I am appalled at the political vindictiveness of this proposed measure,” he said.
Mar's measure needs six Supervisors to qualify for the November ballot. If he can manage to find three more, we may all have the chance to vote on whether or not the tech sector should pay more in taxes — a situation that could lead to an advertising blitz that would put the "No On F" campaign to shame.