Media release from the Tony Hall for Mayor (San Francisco CA) campaign:
May 19, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: James Fisfis
My response to Dennis Herrera’s call for a “21st Century Revolt” for new taxes
by Tony Hall – 3 Comments
Posted on May 19th, 2011 6:00 pm
I was recently referred to my colleague Dennis Herrera’s blog post arguing that San Francisco City Hall should be able to push for its own additional local personal income tax.
While I appreciate Dennis Herrera’s discussion of the issues related to our budget, I must register my disagreement with his apparent support for a new personal income tax for San Francisco small businesses and residents. As public servants, we have a responsibility to put budget reform forward before asking for any higher taxes, and with San Francisco’s budget reaching record levels, why don’t we start with reform and accountability first?
If we need to find revenues, why don’t we start with ideas for reforming Care not Cash, passing pension reform, reinstating zero-based budgeting and reducing political patronage? I have proposed all of these ideas and will be proposing more during my campaign. Let’s pass real reform before raising taxes.
And how during this recession can we be asking San Francisco’s small businesses – almost all of whom would pay Dennis Herrera’s new income tax – to pay this additional tax at the same time we are asking them to provide the jobs we need to sustain our middle class?
We’ve all seen the boarded up store fronts around the city, and we know that each one of them probably represents two or more lost jobs – possibly two or more families without an income. Shouldn’t we make it easier for that local business to open? We just gave Twitter a massive tax break on the promise that they would hire San Franciscans. Why are we passing tax policy favoring larger businesses above our local businesses that we know hire city residents?
I especially disagree with Dennis Herrera’s statement that local governments need to launch a “21st Century Tax Revolt” so that they can raise taxes. Local governments should not be launching tax increase revolts. They should be doing the work of the people with transparency and openness. They should be looking within for how to provide better services, more efficiently. If the people believed that government truly worked for them, they would respond more favorably when tax issues were raised. As it is, most people believe their city tax funds go into a Rube Goldberg mural of special interest deals and handouts, never to be traced again.
This is not a personal disagreement, but now that Dennis Herrera has opened discussion of 1) a new personal income tax for San Francisco, and 2) launching a Tax Revolt for higher taxes, let’s debate the substance.