The plan already has some progressive gradations (companies with more than 100 employees would pay a higher fee), but linking the costs more directly to the size of the business (in other words, hitting the large outfits — which can well afford health insurance — a bit harder and giving more of a city subsidy to the smallest companies) could help ease the burden on struggling merchants.
But in the end, his plan — which would have no impact on employers who already offer health insurance to their workers — is crucial to any effort to get the uninsured into a decent health program (and to end the stiff taxpayer subsidy for companies that don't provide insurance). The supervisors should approve it.
Still that's not the end of the story. At the same time that Ammiano's addressing health care, Peskin has floated a proposal for a new gross receipts tax on local business. Here's the way to proceed: The supervisors need to fund a complete study of how much gross revenue local firms take in; write a new tax that allows the city to eliminate the payroll tax; add a progressive gross receipts tax; and use the next tax policy to help deal with the costs of health care. Big, rich companies pay a lot (enough to help subsidize the citywide health plan). Small firms pay less (and the reduced tax burden helps offset the costs of paying for health insurance). In the end, San Francisco would be the first US city to launch a progressive system for providing health insurance to all. SFBG
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