Chamber and Voters United on Economy

San Franciscans stood up for the economy in last week’s election, voting in key reforms to boost job creation and making important investments in our city’s schools, parks and housing stock. In fact, voters agreed with the Chamber on nine out of the 12 state and local measures we weighed-in on. This is good news for San Francisco, and we thank our members and the voters for their foresight and courage to invest in the future.

Many Chamber-supported initiatives passed by wide margins. The most significant of these, Prop E, will transition the city’s 1.5 percent payroll tax into a broader and more equitable tax on gross receipts over a period of five years starting in 2014. The measure also increases the city’s business license fee for the first time in 30 years to raise $28.5 million in new revenue for economic development, infrastructure and affordable housing.

The Chamber has long been a champion of business tax reform and has engaged with our members and city leaders for nearly a decade on this issue. Throughout the development of Prop E, we worked diligently to ensure fair and equitable rate schedules across industry sectors. We are proud to have played a key role in helping to finally end the city’s direct tax on jobs and make San Francisco more competitive when it comes to attracting new business. We will continue to work closely with our members and the city on implementation.

Voters also overwhelmingly passed Chamber-supported Prop B (the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond) and Prop C (the Affordable Housing Trust Fund), while rejecting Chamber-opposed Prop F (Hetch Hetchy). The outcomes mean $195 million for our city’s most visited parks, over $20 million a year for affordable housing and the protection of our city’s water rights. All will help make our city more attractive to workers, their families and the businesses that employ them.

Like the Chamber, voters took the long view on education by passing Prop 30. While it is never easy to get enthusiastic about a tax increase, Prop 30 will generate $9 billion a year for education, local public safety and deficit reduction. In San Francisco, the measure’s passage saved our public school system from an additional $23 million in immediate cuts and protects funding for the higher education institutions that continue to power our economy.

Finally, voters approved Chamber-supported Prop 39 (the Clean Energy Jobs Act), which plugs a tax loophole that has allowed out-of-state corporations to pay lower taxes in California, costing California $1 billion a year in lost revenue. The measure recovers those funds and puts them towards energy efficiency and alternative energy products, while producing new clean tech jobs and delivering up to $500 million of new funding for education.

These and several other successes from the recent election will help keep San Francisco and California on strong footing for continued job and economic growth. The Chamber is proud to serve our members – who are not afraid to invest in the future – and we applaud the voters for their unified support of our local economy and quality of life this November.