$70 million

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By Tim Redmond

Assemblymember Mark Leno has gotten one of the most important bills of the year through the state Legislature, and if the governor signs it -- and he might -- it could bring an additional $70 million to San Francisco, enough (for example) to wipe out Muni's structural budget deficit.

The billl would allow San Francisco the option of imposing a 2 percent fee on motor vehicle registrations -- the same fee that every car owner in California paid for years until Gov. Schwarzenegger summarily repealed it, leaving the state with a $5 billion budget deficit.

If the city voters approved it, the fee could be assessed on cars registered in San Francisco. The city would pick up desperately needed cash for public transit, and car owners would be no worse off than they were under every governor in the past 25 years (except for this one).

Congrats to Leno for making this happen -- and if it becomes law, the supervisors should move immediately to implement it.