Diverse Coalition Strongly Recommends Mayor and Board of Supervisors Reverse Plan for Tax Increases Triggering Massive Jobs Losses Across San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO – (July 14, 2020) – Save SF Jobs, a diverse group of large employers, midsize companies, small locally-owned businesses, and community associations in San Francisco announced today the coalition’s formation to oppose any new business tax increases placed on the ballot by City elected officials.
“The entire process to date has been a negotiation between politicians without the input of the business community,” said San Francisco Chamber of Commerce CEO Rodney Fong. “We strongly recommend City leaders go back to the drawing board, shelve all of the measures currently proposed, and immediately focus on a comprehensive set of economic tools that will encourage businesses to rehire employees and help San Francisco recover.”
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, along with more than 70 business and trade associations, launched the Save SF Jobs Coalition in response to the City’s insistence on creating a series of ill-advised tax measures. In a letter signed by members of the coalition, the group stated: “The current proposals introduced at City Hall reveal a disturbing lack of understanding about the urgent nature of our times, the fragile condition of San Francisco’s economy, and the unusually uncertain outlook the business community has for the future.”
The Coalition pointed out several alarming data points as a part of its letter:
- There are more San Franciscans out of work now than at any time in recent history, including the Great Recession of 2008.
- Already, more than 153,000 residents have filed unemployment claims.
- Several major employers have allowed their workforces to remain remote through 2021, and many businesses have already left the City — or are planning to.
- There are already 4.6 million square feet of office space available for sublease in San Francisco.
- Residential rents have plummeted as professionals have fled the city.
- Transaction data shows that the retail, restaurant, and accommodation industries have seen a 95% drop in activity since March.
- San Francisco’s hotels are closed and the convention, tourism and entertainment industries are decimated.
- SFO is currently operating at 12-15% of its passenger capacity.
Meanwhile, the City of San Francisco’s annual budget remains over $12 billion. It has doubled over the past decade, and the City maintains some of the highest taxes in the nation. Yet, there have been no proposals from the City to lower its own labor costs or request concessions from its employees, vendors, and consultants. In 2008, San Francisco responded to the Great Recession by matching its expenses to its income. It must do so again.
“Companies must feel confident about the city’s economic outlook to hire or re-hire employees. These new tax measures create anxiety and more uncertainty at precisely the wrong time,” said Kevin Carroll, President and CEO of the Hotel Council. “San Francisco’s businesses are already struggling to survive.”
“While we understand the critical need to provide funds for the City’s budget, San Francisco’s economy doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Laurie Thomas, Executive Director, Golden Gate Restaurant Association. “As you increase costs for certain industries, those costs will be passed on – in many cases to the City’s small business community which is already facing shuttered neighborhood commercial districts and a significant reduction in customers. We feel strongly now is not the time for new taxes.”
“San Francisco’s economy is like an ecosystem; if you increase costs for one industry segment, those costs will filter their way through the entire economy and its going to impact small businesses the most,” stated Gwen Kaplan, third generation San Francisco small business owner located in the North East Mission District. “At a historic time in our City, state and nation’s history, now is not the time to be heaping additional burdens onto those businesses who can least afford it. This not the answer by any means.”
About Save SF Jobs
The SF Chamber, along with a broad coalition of companies and trade associations, has launched a public education campaign about the importance of saving SF jobs, championing small businesses, and stabilizing our local economy. Now is a critical time to educate residents about the impacts of public policy on our local economy, especially on issues including taxes, storefront zoning, and regulations that drive up the cost of business. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.
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Contact: Jay Cheng