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Cut Waste, Don't Raise Taxes


The real property transfer tax is the tax local governments impose on the sale of real property. Because it does not affect a large constituency at any one time and because it is portrayed as such a small amount relative to the price of a home, elected officials believe they can increase the tax, even dramatically, without creating a public uproar.

The transfer tax is an unfair tax because it is charged on the full sale price of property, regardless of how much or how little the owner makes on the sale. And, it is the worst tax to increase to provide funding for general city services because the funds that are derived from the tax are unreliable, given the volatility of the real estate market.

With only 750,000 residents, San Francisco’s 2003-2004 budget is a whopping $4.7 billion. One reason for the outlandish size of the budget is the fact that San Francisco has the highest ratio of city workers to residents of any city of comparable size in the United States.

San Francisco’s bureaucracy is bloated and overpaid. Elected officials need to cut the waste out of the city budget, especially at the top levels of city government, instead of seeking ever-higher taxes from property owners who just happen to be selling their homes.

Open The Door to Home Ownership


The Homeownership rate throughout the United States has reached an all time high, yet San Francisco Continues to lag far behind the rest of the country. Although many renters aspire to become homeowners, the cost of housing seems to keep the ownership dream out of reach of many middle class families.

The high cost of buying a home threatens to turn San Francisco into a city for just the very rich and the very poor. Many political and legislative solutions to this dilemma have failed with voters and our elected officials. Yet all interviews with the citizens that reside in San Francisco indicate that even San Franciscans hold the dream of homeownership dear. With interest rates at historic lows and new public and private no and low down payment loan programs for first time homebuyers, it’s a great time for many San Franciscans to enter the housing market.

 

 

Elected Rent Control Board


Since the original enactment of the Rent Board ordinance during Mayor Feinstein’s administration, the City has seen Mayor Agnos, Mayor Jordan, and Mayor Brown. Even though the Rent Board has existed during the administrations of four, very different mayors, there have been no credible reports that the Board has been arbitrary or unfair in carrying out the letter and spirit of the rent laws.

Since 1979, the Supervisors have passed 62 ordinances to change the Rent Board law, each of which was proceeded by a public hearing. The voters have passed two initiatives to change the Rent Board law. Since 1979, the state has passed a bill which limits the type of rent laws a city may enact. There has been endless litigation to limit or expand what the Rent Board can do. There has been no evidence that the Rent Board Commission appointed by the past four mayors has not acted in an arbitrary or unfair manner.

Some argue that an elected Rent Board would result in a Board more “friendly” to tenants without saying what more friendly means. However, a Board which acted in a biased manner would be over ruled by the courts. Given the financial interests of landlords, the landlords might be able to elect a Board that was more “friendly’ to them; that is what happened in Berkeley. Finally, there is, at present, no good reason to take the Mayor “off the hook” of seeing that the commissioners she/he appoints are fairly carrying out the laws of our City.

San Franciscans ask the Mayor to appoint commissioners because we want to hold the mayor responsible for whatever happens on the Mayor’s watch.

 

 

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