Let’s Refocus on Paychecks

For a city facing a 10.3 percent unemployment rate and a $522 million budget deficit, we spent a lot of time last week on seemingly extraneous legislation. From declaring Mondays meat-free to banning Muni window advertising, one has to ask – is the Board of Supervisors focused on the right priorities?

However noble the goals of such legislation, the Chamber believes that our city leadership should be laser focused on policies and programs that improve the business climate, create jobs and grow the economy. Anything less is just distraction that will only delay full employment and economic recovery.

It’s worth repeating that voters share our beliefs. Twenty-nine percent ranked jobs and the economy as their top priority in the Chamber’s recent CityBeat poll. Like the Chamber, voters are also concerned about the fiscal health of the city, with 26 percent ranking the city budget as their primary concern. And both issues (jobs and the economy) and (the city budget) outpaced Muni and transportation, education, crime, the cost of owning a home and other issues polled.

To help keep our city leaders focused on these shared priorities, the Chamber released today its first Paychecks & Pink Slips Scorecard rating the Board of Supervisors on their actions to grow the economy, create jobs and improve government efficiency. We hope this new report will provide voters with a snapshot of their Supervisor’s performance when it comes to addressing our top concerns.

Based on the Supervisor’s votes on ten key issues last year, we think the scorecard speaks for itself. One glance quickly identifies the Supervisors who did the most last year to help generate paychecks, and those whose actions triggered pink slips in our city. The Chamber will continue to monitor the Board of Supervisors and release additional scorecards throughout the year.

The months ahead will provide ample opportunities for our Supervisors to spur job creation and stimulate the economy. Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Chiu just introduced the city’s FY 2011-2020 Capital Plan, which includes $26.9 billion in capital investments creating 190,000 jobs. The Board of Supervisors will soon vote on a Development Stimulus and Fee Reform package, allowing developers to defer impact fees and jumpstart job-creating projects. City officials will continue to contemplate a complete overhaul of the business tax structure.

All of these and many other pending legislative actions provide an opportunity for our city leaders to refocus on the issues that matter most and create more paychecks, not pink slips in San Francisco.