Progressives howl as Kim introduces Twitter tax break

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Will other companies follow Twitter's successful tax blackmail of the city?

Sup. Jane Kim once again angered her progressive supporters yesterday by introducing legislation to give Twitter a huge corporate tax break, caving in to the company's extortionary threats to leave the city if politicians don't bend to its demands. And with Board President David Chiu co-sponsoring a proposal that came out of the mayor's office, it is all but assured to pass, exacerbating the city's $380 million budget deficit.

Kim's predecessor Chris Daly lit up Facebook condemning the move, quipping that Kim thinks progressive means attending three banquets in one night and offering this assessment, “If you truly care about the people in a community, you would invest directly in them – not in some corporate subsidy.”

Last week, before she had made a decision on the Twitter legislation, Kim even echoed the point, telling me, “My general philosophy is I don't believe in tax breaks or exemptions.” But she acknowledged that it was a difficult decision because “Twitter has made it very clear to me that they will not stay without a payroll tax exemption.”

And now that Twitter was able to make her and other city officials act against their political beliefs and end any illusions that progressives still control the board, the door is wide open for other companies to make similar threats, with San Francisco joining the race to the bottom, competing with other cities for who can give away more public resources to private corporations.

The progressive era at City Hall truly seems to be over.