San Franciscans are poised to vote this November on two important, complicated, and interdependent ballot measures — one a sweeping overhaul of the city's business tax, the other creating an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that relies on the first measure's steep increase in business license fees — that were the products of intense backroom negotiations over the last six months.Read more »
The NY Times isn't exactly a revolutionary left-wing publication -- and while columnist Paul Krugman routinely talks about the income and wealth divide, it's not typically a staple of how the Times cover the news. But David Leonhardt is starting a blog on the decline in the middle class and is going to turn it into an article during the later parts of the presidential campaign -- and amazingly enough, he's got it pretty much right:Read more »
EDITORIAL In some ways, the battle over San Francisco's business tax represents a shift in the local power structure: For most of the past 30 years, the finance, insurance and real-estate industries — the traditional downtown corporate leaders — called the shots at City Hall. Any honest list of the most powerful people in town started with bankers and real-estate developers, and most of the time, they got their way.Read more »
Our friends at CalBuzz, who are almost always right, have a point when they say that the right wing is going to use the lack of comprehensive pension reform against Jerry Brown's tax measure in the fall. That's unless the Legislature does something productive in August, which is always a challenge.
But whenever I hear this kind of analysis, I think about some of the political campaigns I've seen -- the tobacco tax is an excellent example -- and I wonder: Will it really make a difference?Read more »
OPINION I am a diehard and devoted follower of the round-ball. Basketball. If the game did not exist, I wouldn't spend a minute — hot or cold — planted in front of telly, save the half hour my kids and I watch the new Regular Show. I have no idea who wins the beauty contests or who is villain or hero on reality TV, couldn't ID you the hit sitcom star of today, don't know and don't care.
For this reason, I am intimately aware of the massive anti-Prop 29 campaign waged by the tobacco companies (their target audience is male and of a certain age).Read more »
Let's start with an assumption that I think most sane (non-libertarian, non-right-wing-GOP) people agree on: A tax system ought to be based on ability to pay, ought to avoid as much as possible special-interest breaks and should avoid the appearance and the reality of unfairness.Read more »
A broad consensus in San Francisco supports reforming the city's business-tax structure by replacing the payroll tax with a gross receipts tax through a November ballot measure. But the devil is in the details of how individual tax bills are affected, which has divided the business community and given a coalition of labor and progressives the opportunity to overcome the insistence by Mayor Ed Lee and other pro-business moderates that any change be revenue-neutral.Read more »
There's no way to put a good spin on the new budget figures released by the Guv. No matter what happens in November, people who need help are going to get screwed in this state. Public schools will lose money. Health-care for the poor will be near collapse. Cities and counties will struggle to preserve the local safety nets. It's just a disaster, and there's no other way to look at it.Read more »