Five of the 13 San Francisco ballot measures are tax hikes, but there are also a few measures that will surely draw Fox News ridicule, like allowing 16-year-olds to vote.
Above we see a sampling of the glossy election mailers that are beginning to clog your mailbox daily, one of which features an image of Trump and declares “MAKE TRUMP PAY SF TAXES.” (Yeah right, good luck getting even $750 from that guy!) Supervisor Dean Preston made the case in an SF Examiner op-ed that his Prop I real estate transfer tax proposal would indeed make Trump pay SF taxes, saying that “Speculators like Donald Trump, who is reportedly selling his 30% stake in 555 California, would pay the tax,” and that “If we pass Prop I, we can actually hand Trump a $15-18 million tax bill on his way out of office, and then use that money to house more San Franciscans.”
Nearly half of the measures on the SF ballot are some manner of tax increases, many targeting the very wealthy. (There is also the double-lettered oddball Measure RR, a sales tax measure to save Caltrain — get it? RR? — that will also appear on the San Mateo and Santa Clara County ballots.) Let’s take a look at the 13 San Francisco ballot propositions — going alphabetically, not in the order of how controversial or interesting any of them are.
Proposition A, Bond Issue
This is your typical feel-good bond measure benefiting parks, homelessness, and mental health programs, meant as a local economic stimulus to the not-at-all typical COVID-19 economic downturn. It needs a two-thirds supermajority to pass, but with gigantic contributions from Ripple executive chair Christian Larsen and billionaire investor John Pritzker (and no organized opposition at this point), supermajority approval seems pretty likely.
SWEEPING Reform of DPW is WAY OVERDUE. Deeply broken, obviously.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) July 7, 2020
Most corrupt dept in SF + filthiest streets & sidewalks in the country = split it up, add accountability, oversight, a director w expertise, baseline services.
Let your Sup know you support the Clean City Act! https://t.co/yMdWkxgfuV
Proposition B, Public Works Commission and Sanitation and Streets Commission Charter Amendment
Sup. Matt Haney’s bid to break up the DPW and create an agency that only cleans streets is now in your hands in the form of Proposition B. It would also add some oversight and create a few more City Hall jobs — putting a commission in charge of overseeing the Department of Public Works and being a watchdog for future corruption, much like we have Police and Planning commissions.
Proposition C, Member of City Body Eligibility Requirements Charter Amendment
Right-wing media will likely have a field day distorting Sup. Shamann Walton’s proposal to allow non-citizens to serve on advisory bodies like school boards, city boards, and commissions, but Prop C only allows the appointment — not the election — of non-citizens.
Proposition D, Sheriff's Department Oversight Board Charter Amendment
Another Sup. Walton measure, Prop D would create a seven-person advisory board that would conduct oversight of the sheriff’s department for the first time — like the Police Commission does for the SFPD — as well as create an Inspector General-type position to watch over the department.
Proposition E, Police Staffing Charter Amendment
Think of Prop. E as a kind of “Defund the Police Lite" measure, as it would eliminate minimum staffing requirements at the SFPD.
Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors -- which are often at odds -- are uniting to push SF voters to approve Prop.F, which would reform the city’s business tax structure. https://t.co/siok0zLKEl— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) September 10, 2020
Proposition F, Business and Tax Regulations Code Charter Amendment
Here’s the first of your big tax fights. The Chronicle’s analysis of this wildly complicated business tax restructuring prop notes that it mostly hits the tech sector, and that “Restaurants, retail, manufacturing, arts organizations and hospitality businesses will see no increases through 2024 under the proposal.”
Proposition G, Local Election Voting Age Charter Amendment
This is the one that would let 16- and 17-year-olds vote! They could only vote on local candidates and ballot measures, but still, SF is going to get sooo much shit for this.
Proposition H, Planning Code Amendment
A London Breed pet project, Prop H would streamline the planning process and require that permits be processed within 30 days if the request already complies with zoning rules and the applicant is in a neighborhood commercial district.
Opponents have raised over $2 million, the highest in the SF election, to defeat a real estate tax increase on sales over $10 million authored by @DeanPreston. The battle comes as major sales have plunged ~75% this year during coronavirus https://t.co/l8tDiySVgH w/ @TrishaThadani— Roland Li (@rolandlisf) October 1, 2020
Proposition I, Real Estate Transfer Tax
Here you have Sup. Dean Preston’s “MAKE TRUMP PAY SF TAXES” measure, which would double the real estate transfer tax on deals of $10 million or more. The Chron notes that big-bucks realtors have dumped $2 million into opposing it.
Proposition J, Parcel Tax
In short, this is a $288 parcel tax that would generate nearly $50 million for teacher raises. It replaces 2018's Prop G, which was a nearly identical parcel tax for teacher wages, but which has been tied up in litigation due to the fact that only a simple majority threshold was used to pass it instead of the two-thirds typically required for taxation changes.
Proposition K, Affordable Housing Authorization
Another Dean Preston measure, Prop K authorizes 10,000 more affordable housing units, but as the Chron notes, “The measure does not provide funding for the housing, however.”
Proposition L, Business Tax
Dubbed by 48 Hills as the “Overpaid CEO Tax,” Prop L would tax companies whose CEOs make more than 100 times the compensation of their average worker.
Proposition RR, Rail Service Tax
Financially Beleaguered Caltrain is asking voters in SF, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties to foot a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to keep the trains running on time, or even running period.
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist