Twitter tax: It's not all about Jane Kim


Randy Shaw's latest piece announcing that (duh) the Small Business Commission supports the Twitter tax break makes it seem as if the entire opposition to the deal is based on dislike for Sup. Jane Kim:

Since announcing her candidacy for District 6 Supervisor, Jane Kim has been attacked by self-declared progressive power-brokers who vowed to defeat a candidate they could not control. After one of the city’s most progressive districts overwhelmingly elected Kim, these detractors continued their attacks – desperate to undermine Kim’s credibility as a progressive.

To this end, [Chris] Daly, [Gabriel] Haaland and others who failed to defeat Kim last November are now charging Kim with promoting “gentrification” by backing a payroll tax exemption to encourage businesses like Twitter to move to Mid-Market.

It's getting crazy, how Shaw is making this whole discussion so nasty and personal. Because it really isn't all about Jane Kim.

There are actual, legitimate policy differences here. Some of us don't think tax breaks are a good way to do economic development. Some of us think that we've tried lowering taxes -- for 30 years -- and it hasn't worked. Some of us (particularly me) wonder if a break from the city's annual payroll tax makes any difference at all to a company's decision where to move or whether to hire new workers.

In fact, it should come as no surprise that former Sup. Daly and Haaland, a union activist, are opposed to a corporate tax break. They're just doing what they've always done.

In ten years on the Board of Supervisors, Daly told me, he opposed every single tax cut or tax break that came before him. (He also said he's not a "longtime critic" of Jane Kim: "The first time I criticized her was over the board president selection, and that was two and a half months ago." He wasn't a supporter of Kim's main progressive opponent, Debra Walker, last November, and can hardly be described as somone who "vowed to defeat" Kim.)

Haaland did support Walker -- but he's not doing anything unexpected, either. He told me he's never once supported a tax break for anyone. "You can say a lot of things about me, but you can't say I'm inconsistent here," Haaland noted.

I've been at the Guardian for more than 25 years, and I've written more than 1,000 editorials, and I can't remember every one of them, but I'm pretty sure we've never supported this kind of tax break, either -- for anyone, anywhere. We would have opposed it if Debra Walker suggested it; Jane Kim happens to be a sponsor of this particular deal, but there's nothing surprising -- or personal -- in our position.

Randy Shaw is free to argue that we're wrong and to say that this tax break is good for the Tenderloin and for the city. Lots of people (although generally not people I call progressives) support all kinds of tax deals for lots of policy reasons. I disagree with them, but I'm happy to have the discussion; I love to debate tax policy (I realize I'm sick that way.)

But you wonder where Shaw is coming from with this "anti-Kim" personal shit. Is this the best case he can make?