The paperwork for a proposed ballot measure to establish a new “Community Housing Program” and parcel tax in San Francisco has just been filed with the Department of Elections.

If qualified for a future election and approved by voters, the “SF Community Housing Act of 2018” would require the city “to create” 1,500 units of affordable housing every three years, either by building from scratch or purchasing existing buildings, “equally distributed across all Supervisorial districts” and “within 0.4 miles” of a major transportation station or stop. The units would remain “permanently owned and maintained by the city” but overseen and managed by a “Community Council of tenants” in each neighborhood.

Existing tenants in buildings acquired by the City would get to stay in their units, “no matter their income or residency.” New or vacant units would be offered by lottery to those with incomes of between 10 and 100 percent of the Area Median (AMI) who have been residents of San Francisco for over a year, “regardless of immigration status.” And new rents would be generally set at 30 percent of a household’s after tax income.

In order to fund the program, the act would establish an annual tax of $0.43 per square foot of total building area on every taxable parcel in San Francisco, both residential and commercial, with potential exemptions for the square footage of homes owned and occupied by households with incomes below the Area Median.

And as noted by the organizing party: “Large buildings like the Salesforce Tower [would] pay close to $600,000 each year” to fund the program (which hints at how an opposition party, if necessary, will be (rather well) funded as well).

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Amewsed

    Utterly stupid on so many levels to interject government into the housing arena.

    • Posted by MossyBuddha

      government is already in the housing arena. mostly on the side of the wealthy.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      Governments have already been putting land in the public trust through land trusts, for ages. Governments around the world have provided social housing for decades. The United States has been disinvesting from affordable housing for decades, and that is a major factor in the housing crisis.

      • Posted by harold martin

        SFTenant – I assume you’re from the SFCHA. A suggestion. With the City budget in excess of $9B, why not become a watchdog group focusing on city fiscal responsibility to fund affordable housing? Imagine if the City were required to streamline the themselves and that generated a 5% savings. What could you do with $450MM every year without additional taxation? The deep pockets is the City, not individual home owners. You’re only adding to the cost of living in SF.

        • Posted by Pero

          Harold, what makes you think SFTenant is not first in line to be paid by this enormous new bureaucracy?

        • Posted by SFTenant

          The problem is not as easy as it sounds, and I’m not sure anybody has produced a 5% savings estimate of the kind you are suggesting. About half of the City’s budget goes to Enterprise Departments like SFMTA, and those funds are restricted in how they can be spent. Those departments also produce budgets that are publicly accessible. The remainder goes to the General Fund, but many of these funds are either set aside for specific purposes, or locked in for specific departments due to their requirements.

          The number $10 billion also needs to account for per-capita adjustments and inflation. There are more details about this here. As quoted there: “When all is said and done, the Mayor will directly allocate about $36 million this year. That’s less than 1 percent of a $10 billion budget.” Dedicating revenues to funding affordable housing requires generating additional revenues, or a set-aside that ends up taking away from other much-needed City services.

          • Posted by spencer

            the $10B budget is full of waste due to past city employees who manipulated the pension system. pensions should be no more than 75% of your average city salary over the lifetime, not based on the last year. SF city govt may be the worst run govt in america. this is coming from a diehard liberal. its insane to tax homeowners more with a budget like we have, which is the largest per capita budget on any city in the US.

            paying for everyone to be able to live in SF is ridiculous. Why cant we consider the Bay Area as one region, as pool money for this. we should not be buying affordable housing in the most expensive zip codes in the country. can we purchase units in oakland, hayward, vallejo, san bruno? those are all way more affordable and all less than a 40 min pub transport commute

          • Posted by Anon123

            If they can’t be accountable for the current huge budget, why should we gift them (city) with this new tax?

          • Posted by SFTenant

            The buildings that would pay the most in taxes are the buildings with the most floor area. State law generally requires uniformity (including uniformity on the basis of square footage) for parcel taxes, and does not allow discrimination by use (residential, commercial, etc) in general, but there is precedent for exemptions. The structures to ensure regional governance of the form you mentioned are not in place. Also, the tax exempts owner-occupied homes making below the median income, and the typical non-exempt homeowner may only pay $1-2/day in taxes. The School District already uses parcel taxes to fund schools, except those are flat and with fewer exemptions, and don’t scale up with property size at all.

            Regarding accountability, this measure – like all special taxes – has a number of accountability mechanisms: independent financial audits, independent performance audits, an oversight committee that holds public meetings, and so on. Investing in the well-being of all San Franciscans, so more people can live a decent life, including homeowners who benefit from childcare centers and transit improvements, is good for the economy as well.

          • Posted by Anon123

            “The remainder goes to the General Fund, but many of these funds are either set aside for specific purposes, or locked in for specific departments due to their requirements.”

            This is what I call lack of accountability. The statement that their hands are tied when in effect they are the ones allocating and tying up the money for the purposes that they deem important.

          • Posted by SFTenant

            If you read the article linked above, it mentions: “Over the years, San Francisco residents have voted for certain mandatory spending measures, which are commonly referred to as set-asides. These include baseline spending and service levels for public safety, transportation and children’s services. This reduces the general fund from $5.1 to $3.9 billion. The police and fire department, which include voter-mandated force size requirements, make up nearly another $900 million. This brings the general fund from $3.9 billion to $3 billion. The big players in health, namely the Human Services Agency and Department of Public Health, book a combined $1.7 billion budget and leave us with a $1.3 billion General Fund. Other department dollars fund existing services and staff. When all is said and done, the Mayor will directly allocate about $36 million this year. That’s less than 1 percent of a $10 billion budget.”

            Ballot measures generally use set-asides because they are easier to pass, although in the long run they make it more difficult to allocate money every year.

          • Posted by Anon123

            Yes, so it is easier to levy a new tax than change spending habits.

    • Posted by spencer

      thats a very large tax and totally unreasonable, and the govt is now going to pay for hoursing for illegal immigrants. thats a step too far.

      • Posted by SFTenant

        The tax here exempts low and moderate income owner-occupied homes (making less than $103,000 for a family of three), and the typical homeowner may only pay around $1-2/day in taxes (could be around 0.6% of income), while the largest office buildings will pay a significantly larger share.

        Undocumented immigrants have been supported by housing developments financed with low-income housing tax credits. The legislation just continues San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city by not allowing for discrimination, and recently passed state law already limits discrimination and retaliation against undocumented immigrants.

        • Posted by spencer

          we are already extremely heavily taxed.

          • Posted by anon 2

            prop 13 is a huge limiting issue with property taxes. This is a counterbalance.

          • Posted by spencer

            you must be jking. prop 13 helps those who bought before housing was outrageous and who could keep their low prop taxes. for anyone who bought after 2003 or so, taxes are still extreme.

    • Posted by Pero

      I fully support more construction in SF, but this proposal is really really bad for many reasons. Here a few:

      1) Do you realize that a large chunk of the revenue from this new tax would go to finance the financial audits, controllers, performance audits, oversight committees etc. etc. This is before we even take into account real estate brokers, consultants, property maintenance contractors etc. Very soon the city would either fall short of the 3 year goal of 1500 units or the $0.43 per square foot tax rate would have to be lifted. Increasing the tax would not really solve the problem, as more bureaucracy and middleman would follow. I’m not surprised SFTenant is excited to become part of this machinery.

      2) The requirement that purchased buildings would need to be “equally distributed across all Supervisorial districts” and “within 0.4 miles” of major transportation stops would increase the buying costs substantially. E.g. the price for a 4 unit building in Pac Heights would cost as much as a 12 unit building in the Southern neighborhoods. How does this help solve the rental crisis? This approach is incredibly inefficient at reaching the stated goal of proving affordable housing to a large number of SF residents.

      3) Supervision and managed by a “Community Council of tenants” sounds quite nightmarish to me. People would figure out which buildings are shortlisted to be bought next by the city and a group of insiders would take advantage of it. Further, most “normal” people would have no time to take part in regular meetings of the council of tenants, which would leave you with the radical, the vengeful and/or the incompetent. Happy times.

      • Posted by SFTenant

        1) The initiative is structured to account for administrative costs like those in terms of the goals set. Any additional appropriations can be made from the General Fund if the performance audits identify lack of money as a serious issue, and performance audits every three years are not likely to be a serious cost burden. Also, I’m not a part of any machinery like that at all. The initiative was written by regular San Francisco residents who don’t currently benefit from or work in government bureaucracy or the real-estate industry, but was written with careful research and analysis of other systems of housing that have succeeded, with the advice of city planners and other policy experts.

        2) Equal distribution is a goal, in order to achieve pockets of affordability in each Supervisorial district, rather than continuing the trend of essentially segregating areas on the basis of income. Nothing in this initiative is stopping the program from exceeding its goals in one district, since it uses an overall minimum City-wide 1500 units per three years goal, with geographic equity of those 1500.

        3) As has been repeated in other comments, Community Councils do not manage the property. SocketSite may want to correct its statement that Community Councils “oversee and manage” the properties, since that second part is not accurate. They oversee evictions just to ensure just cause and legal compliance (to prevent fraudulent or clear no-fault evictions), advocate for improvements, and oversee rehabilitation and other changes to ensure tenants’ needs are being met. The initiative also funds leadership training programs to develop Community Councils, including developing under-represented communities and youth. It’s making a holistic investment in community development, hence the name.

  2. Posted by 101

    Screw the home owners again with these pathetic taxes. This will pass because the City is filled with renters and they don’t care.

    • Posted by MossyBuddha

      this homeowner and landlord will be supporting this along with encouraging his tenants and home-owning neighbors to do the same.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        Why? This city has a $10bn budget already.

      • Posted by SFLandlord

        You are sure a glutton for punishment.

        • Posted by mvp

          Alexander Tytler: ” Democracy(sic) can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.”

      • Posted by 101

        Why would we? Support raising our Property Taxes? Yeah, please tax me more.

      • Posted by SFTenant

        It’s good for homeowners too, because not only are low-and-moderate-income homeowners exempted (a larger exemption than similar square footage parcel taxes passed in Berkeley), but they also get to benefit from childcare centers in close proximity to the municipal housing, and faster buses. It’s an investment that will support the working class and benefit the community at large.

        • Posted by Ivoryhouse

          Where is your evidence of faster/efficient/safe buses? More frequent does not necessarily equal faster journey times, Although all the extra drivers on guaranteed second highest in nation contracts will applaud this, I wonder if the bloated MTA pension impact has been considered.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      This tax exempts owner-occupied homes making below the median income, adjusted for household size. The median income for a family of three (typical homeowner family size) is around $103,000 in San Francisco. Most folks who are retired or on Social Security or pension may not pay much at all.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        So, it’s basically Prop 13 all over again … fixed-income types get to impose a tax on hard-working middle-aged people, who will be squeezed ever further to pay for yet another feel-good bureaucratic program

        • Posted by Brisket

          Exactly. The lower income are exempt or benefit, the wealthy won’t notice it in their bottom line, but the middle class homeowner will be squeezed further. Classic San Francisco tax program.

  3. Posted by SFLandlord

    The role of government is not to provide housing. A lot of the current public housing in this city has been poorly managed so expanding the role of government as landlords is ill advised. Why should tax paying citizens have to foot the bill (even further) for illegal immigrants?

    • Posted by SFTenant

      This isn’t HUD public housing, so federal government cuts won’t hurt this program. Also, owner-occupied homes making below the median income ($103,000 for a family of three) will be exempted. All homeowners will also benefit from childcare centers in their neighborhood, and faster transit. You might want to read the FAQ.

      • Posted by 101

        Sorry, I don’t care about child care centers and Muni going faster. I care about my taxes going up. Like everything in this City, I give thousands and get absolutely nothing back.

        • Posted by Ivoryhouse

          I agree, except zero evidence of muni going faster.

      • Posted by LocalYocal

        You keep stating over and over all owner-occupied homes making below the median income of $103,000 will be exempt. If you make less than $103,000 a year, you don’t qualify to own a “home”. And, this is a very small percentage of “home” owners in this town. What base are you pandering to?

        And you might want to re-word this question on your FAQ’s, it’s a bit telling: “Q: If we win, how do I apply to live there?”
        How does one actually “win” home ownership?

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      Putting aside the part about illegal immigrants, it seems obvious that the reason the government is being called upon by the backers of this proposed measure to provide housing is because “the free market” has shown over the last decade and a half that it is only interested in producing housing for the portion of the population that has a household income a few standard deviations above the median household income in S.F.

      If the market were producing the desired outcomes, this proposal never would have been put forward.

      • Posted by formerly%whatever

        Don’t go overboard and call it a “free market” when you have to deal with a few regulations (Planning and DBI diktats) and gatekeepers (supervisors demanding “community benefits”).

        Regulation drives up the cost of production. All done in the name of protecting the public, of course.

      • Posted by Sabbie

        The market is working, it is allocating a very desirable luxury item with restricted supply to those who are most willing and able to afford it. The majority of a home price in San Francisco is the land value and has nothing to do with the development.

        Humans might have a basic right to shelter, but not to their very own condo in one of the most desirable cities on earth. Even back in the 90s when I moved to SF and it was much more affordable, young people with quite decent jobs still bunked up four roommates to an old crappy flat. Now every barista with an Ethnic Studies degree wants their very own brand new pad in the Mission. I want to drive a BMW but I have to settle for a Toyota because I can’t afford it.

        These lame redistribution schemes only work until you run out of other people’s money.

        • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

          Absolutely. San Francisco has always been an expensive place that most people couldn’t afford. When I was in my 20s, 30 years ago, I was living and working in the south bay and had a good tech job. I wanted to move to SF but came to the conclusion that I couldn’t afford it without making more drastic cuts to my lifestyle than I was willing to make. Another 15 years of hard work, frugality, investment and savings and I was able to buy a place in SF. It’s really not much different today. The difference is the sense of entitlement (among some groups) and the expectation that they “deserve” the same quality of life as people who have worked for decades to get there.

          When I see the millennials spending their weekends drinking beer and lounging at Duboce Park, and then I read their complaints about how expensive it is to live here, I laugh. If I’d spent my weekends drinking beer and had spent most of my monthly income on an expensive SF apartment when in my 20s, I wouldn’t be able to live here today.

          • Posted by Parksidemike

            I agree. I have lived here all my life, 67 years. Relative to my wages, generally average middle class, we always paid a premium to live and raise our kids here. My first house cost just under 100K, but our yearly wages were 15K at the time. That is just the way it was/is here always, with the occasional boom and bust.

            Some people were always deciding to move to a suburb or completely out of the area during all the time I’ve lived here, for much the same reasons you read about now.

            I do not agree with this proposal; it sounds too much like what they call council houses in Great Britain and Ireland, which only improved things when people were allowed to purchase them from the government.

            We pay a parcel tax now for the school district, which continually rises, yet the teacher wages still lag and schools underperform. Most of this money goes to administration and overhead on things not directly in support of teachers or useful programs for students like sports, music or the arts, which are continually underfunded. So, my feeling on these parcel taxes is pretty negative.

            I do support low interest loans to people who need help on buying a house and qualify, but firmly believe city government would not run a program as proposed in an accountable way. To me accountability is just contrary to how SF civic government operates.

          • Posted by Dave

            @Parksidemike I live in pneumonia gulch and was lucky to be able to purchase after the crash in 2008. I could not afford to do so today. The homes on my street have more than doubled in price since then. It takes a techie couple to afford this area now – people who can’t afford Noe Valley are /have been moving into the area recently.

            The situation in terms of affordability has gotten worse since 2008 and more so since 1980. Why 1980? A retired neighbor couple bought here then. They both worked for Safeway in middle class jobs as retail clerks and, though it was tough, they were able to buy a home. At that time a good chunk of the middle class could afford to buy a home. They absolutely can’t today.

            SF has “always” been more expensive than most of the rest of the country. The differential in prices has increased though. Affordability was better 10 years ago and quite a bit better 25 plus years ago. The good thing is, IMO, the price differential will begin to shrink as other areas grow/expand much faster. Even so, SF will “always” be more expensive but maybe not so outrageously so as we move forward.

  4. Posted by Ivoryhouse

    Would this need 2/3 majority or simple majority? How much would total tax take be?

  5. Posted by SFcitizen

    Would this ordinance be contrary to Article 34?

    • Posted by SFTenant

      No, because voters can approve an Article 34 blanket authorization of a maximum number of units, and Section 110.8 invokes Article 34 explicitly.

  6. Posted by Dave

    A modern day version of the housing project. This would be a disaster. Let’s see – a person making 8K/year would qualify to enter the lottery? If that person won they would pay 2100/year for the housing? This does nothing for the middle class which makes north of the median income (above 80K) and would not qualify. And a community council of tenants – that should be fun.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      The City would be able to buy up any property and the existing tenants, regardless of income, would get an affordable rent (ranging between 30% of net income and 30% of gross income at the most, with a minimum rent that works out to around $320/month). So this will help middle-class tenants if they are struggling as well.

      The income requirements only apply to new units (vacant ones or new construction). And the median income goes up with household size, so a family of four making $115,000 will qualify for vacant units as well.

  7. Posted by Ann Apolis

    Get ready for the most corrupt lottery in US history, and completely unmanageable housing.

  8. Posted by SF94114

    FULLY OPPOSED to this nonsense.
    Enough w/ 10 Billion budget, paid form by minority homeowners!

    When tenants making 150k/more are subsidized by blue collar home owners this is a diry proposal, & a land grab by the far too left Tenants Union.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      Homeowners who are making below the median income (AMI) can apply for an exemption, which is actually one of the most generous exemptions any parcel tax has offered (similar taxes in Berkeley have only offered exemptions to folks making below 50% of AMI who are also seniors).

      • Posted by Mike

        And why is it that tenants are granted an exemption regardless of their income? Please explain the rationale for that loophole? Don’t we want wealthy tenants to pay their “fair share?”

        • Posted by ItMe

          Wealthy tenants will absolutely be paying — they are likely to live in newer, non-rent-controlled units whose rent levels will rise as the landlord passes taxes through.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Rents are actually set by what tenants are willing to pay, not what landlords wish to charge (or “pass through”). And keep in mind that asking rents in San Francisco are currently down on a year-over-year basis (and versus a peak in 2015).

          • Posted by Mike

            The initiative specifically provides that the parcel tax may not be passed through to tenants in existing rent controlled units. There are obviously plenty of tenants in such units who earn above 100% of AMI.

  9. Posted by Tipster

    “regardless of immigration status”

    Ha ha, the SF residents will basically be the slaves to immigrants, toiling away to provide them free housing. Why bother supplying that housing to productive US citizens? They can just spend an hour+ commuting while some immigrant from Honduras lives right in San Francisco, free, for life! What a city!

    • Posted by SFTenant

      This isn’t free housing. Rent is set based on your income, just as it is in almost all affordable housing developments, and there is a bare minimum rent of $320/month (30% of net income for a typical minimum-wage worker working 20 hours a week, 48 weeks/year).

      • Posted by Brooder

        this wouldn’t even cover the HOA of my condo. Rent has to have something to do with cost.

        • Posted by that_dude

          Yep. This idea is communism.

        • Posted by SFTenant

          That was just the bare minimum rent, and most tenants would pay more in rent (e.g. closer to $1000/month for two people earning 50% of the median income, which is classified as a “low income” bracket). The initiative aims to ensure a mixed income distribution of applicants, just like most affordable housing developments do – which also typically charge rent based on a percentage of income. A median tenant income close to 50% or 55% or the median income is usually sufficient to keep affordable housing self-sustainable, and the legislation has a number of directives to ensure self-sustainability.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        Its basically free to those with no income who land a golden ticket, regardless of immigration status. Its a terrible idea.

  10. Posted by Keepitup

    Uhummmm and who exactly is going to overlord this pot of gold?

    • Posted by SFTenant

      There will be financial audits every year by independent bodies, annual reports by the Controller, and performance audits of the program every three years to ensure operational effectiveness. An oversight committee, with seven seats appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and two appointed by the Mayor’s Office, will oversee the revenues. This includes seats for people with experience in finance, experience in affordable housing development, tenants’ rights advocacy, and senior and disability rights.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        Once someone lands a lottery win, what incentive do they have to ever leave (lets assume they land a well paid job)?

        • Posted by SFTenant

          If their income goes over the Area Median Income (adjusted for household size), they will start to gradually pay even more as a percentage of their net income in rent, with a cap at 30% of gross income. When gross income gets fairly high, 30% of their gross income – while still within the usual definition of “affordable” – will be around or above market rate. At that point, they may prefer to move out.

          • Posted by SFCitizen

            Why wouldn’t the tenant be evicted when their income goes above a certain limit? I don’t believe high income earners should benefit from this program when so many residents are rent burdened.

          • Posted by SFTenant

            The lottery is designed to ensure a mixed distribution of incomes City-wide, so if there are too many higher-income households in the system, lower-income and moderate-income households will be prioritized for vacant units. Conversely, if there are more lower-income households, moderate-income households will be prioritized for vacant units. This ensures an income distribution mix that can both be self-sustainable to cover operating and capital costs, and ensures that those facing the most rent-burdening are taken care of. Higher-income households will end up paying over market rate if their income rises to, say, 200% of the Area Median Income, because rent is based on your gross income. That will encourage them to generally find a new unit without an eviction (which is generally forced, undesired, and can have complications especially based on health needs). They could also choose to stay in their communities if preferred, and pay the higher rent.

            Additional details on the income distribution for this lottery can be found on the SF Community Housing Act website under “Details”.

      • Posted by primeminister

        In short…bureaucrats.

  11. Posted by aerel

    As one might expect, the comments on this are full of indignant vitriol on both sides. I wonder, however, if there’s been any actual research into what kinds of effects something like this would be likely to have.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      Hey aerel, governments in other countries have been providing social housing and municipal housing for decades, and – unlike the US – they haven’t been disinvesting from it. The federal government has made cuts to HUD for decades. This initiative also works as a land trust type model by letting the government buy land to keep rents affordable, which is something that has succeeded throughout the country, though usually at a small scale.

      • Posted by BobN

        And if we outsourced responsibility for all the purchasing and management of these properties to some local housing authority in, say, Germany, I’d be all for this plan (minus the ridiculous up-to-100% of AMI and the limitation of rent to 30% of income, since few regular folks spend so little).

    • Posted by primeminister

      Yes, see history of USSR.

      • Posted by spencer

        the authors of this bill should read up on the failure of communism

  12. Posted by Ohlone Californio

    Why don’t renters get taxed, ever, for any of these things? The city has more renters. So tax them as they are the majority.

    • Posted by Donald

      They do. It’s called rent.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        That has nothing to do with what I said.

      • Posted by SFcitizen

        Would this parcel tax be passed through to the tenant?

    • Posted by primeminister

      I lived in London for a decade. Council tax was paid by ALL RESIDENTS. Much more fair than property tax.

  13. Posted by MKP

    terrible idea, but I wouldn’t put anything past the idiocy of SF voters

  14. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    I support building lots more housing in SF, but would never vote for this huge new tax that exempts ⅔ of the populace. Forcing existing property owners, most of whom are “moms and pops” — many of whom struggle to pay their existing property tax bills — to foot the bill is just not fair.

    Among the other things wrong with this is the fact that the city’s data on building sizes (square footage) is really bad, plenty of parcels show up with square footages that have little to no connection to reality. I’m also curious whether something like this has been found legal under Prop 13. This is essentially an ad valorem tax (square footage is a proxy for value) and such taxes are limited by state law.

    • Posted by anon2.5

      I don’t support this either but I highly doubt most landlords in SF are moms and pops. More like sons and daughters of moms and pops, certainly the landed gentry.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      Uniform square footage parcel taxes have passed throughout the state before and after Prop 13, and there are several that have recently passed as well. As listed on the FAQ, there are a number of examples that have passed in Berkeley. This tax also exempts owner-occupied homes making below the median income (which is more generous than the Berkeley taxes’ exemptions), and also funds childcare centers and transit improvements that are accessible to everyone.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        I’ll support “means testing” for property tax exemptions as soon as we start means testing of rent control recipients. Don’t mean to be flippant, that’s just the first response that came to mind. It only seems fair.

  15. Posted by Donald

    Tax your way to affordability!

    • Posted by SFTenant

      With the latest corporate tax cuts, this will increase the amount that many corporations pay, all while allowing exemptions for low and moderate income homeowners. All homeowners will also benefit from childcare centers in their neighborhoods, and improved public transit frequency, both of which are funded by this initiative.

  16. Posted by anon2.5

    30% of AMI is the wrong metric. 40% is better. 30% assumes many factors, which are not relevant to SF like car ownership and maintenance costs. Also 30% might make sense for a couple with a child, but not for a single person.

    • Posted by somalandlord

      Interesting point. But I think it makes more sense for a project like this, if it ever happens.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      Rent is set at 30% of net income for most folks, but can go up to 30% of gross income as your income rises. These are both still considered affordable by most standards of judging rents.

      • Posted by BobN

        30% is way lower than what average people here pay for mortgages or rent, no?

        • Posted by spencer

          most folks who own pay more than 30%, and now those same folks will have to further support someone making $100K to get a home and only pay 30%. we were the folks making<100K and paying 40% ten years ago, but we saved and made it work to buy. this is purely class warfare, and people should be ashamed to be behind this bill.

          I think the renters who are hard working and educated wont vote for this. I think we’ve added enough high wage renters, plus there are plenty of non-communists in SF, that will support the homeowners in fighting this. this is a pro handout bill, even to folks who don’t need a handout. if it was limited to those making <50% of median, then maybe there could be some support for a more minimal tax, but the idea of me paying for someone making 6 figures, when most of us were there shortly ago without help, is insane.

          we should not be giving handouts to folks choosing to live in the highest dollar zipcodes in the US. you can live well in many east bay locales on 100K, and take a short 20 min BART ride. I just cant understand why any reasonable person would support this.

  17. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    Completely Unnecessary. Once we get a split property tax roll, there will be a lot more money coming into counties

  18. Posted by Kraus

    Remove regulatory impediments to housing creation prior to increasing funding for subsidized housing.

    This would lower entitlement costs and make housing creation less expensive for both market rate and below market rate housing developments.

    To do otherwise, is putting the cart before the horse and is simply a waste of money and will lead to higher housing costs.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      There are already a number of real-estate developers spending relatively large amounts of money in the city on buying and selling land, as well as otherwise engaging in development. This would let the city play the same role but with a strictly not-for-profit motive, by both buying land with tenants so tenants can stay and afford their rent, and engaging in new construction.

      There have been decades worth of cuts to affordable housing from the federal level, and this initiative reverses those cuts. Also, the idea of a land trust is not particularly new, and the program is designed to be self-sustainable, not just based on the income distribution in the initiative, but also the legal text which requires ensuring self-sustainability.

      • Posted by Justin

        This has nothing to do with the huge regulatory costs related to development in the area.

  19. Posted by SFRealist

    Or, we could just make it easier to build housing. This is 500 units per year. A drop in the bucket.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      That’s a minimum goal. With matching funds from state and other sources, the number could in fact be much higher. And because there is no profit motive and no need to pay back the same kinds of loans for developing housing, that means rents can be brought down for tenants.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        I repeat: 500 units per year. That’s diddly.

        If SF make it easier to build housing, tens of thousands of new units could be built.

        • Posted by Hunter

          Agree. We need 10-20 times that much every year based on job growth alone.

  20. Posted by Pablito

    Ooh cool. Nepotistic communism. What could ever go wrong?
    All those government housing projects from the 1950’s and 60’s were such swimming successes. Mainly successful at ruining the lives of the tenants that were forced to live there – but still.
    I predict if this passes it will be equally successful (at perpetuating multi generational poverty).

    • Posted by SFTenant

      The housing created under this program both has a directive to be self-sustainable and accepts a broad range of applicants by income. There are independent financial audits, independent performance audits, and accountability mechanisms, including the ability for folks living in the housing itself to advocate for improvements and ensure well-being.

      Municipal housing and social housing has worked in several other countries, where they actually make an investment in their socities. In the United States, disinvestment in the form of redlining, and explicit HUD cuts for decades, have enormously hurt communities. An initiative that invests in the community without making cuts will succeed, and it’s a lot easier to push for change at the local level than in Congress.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      Pablito, you seriously need to check your privilege. Ed Lee grew up in a public housing complex in Seattle. His life was not ruined, his childhood circumstances didn’t “perpetuate multi generational poverty”, and you should carefully consider how your contributions to society stack up next to his.

      • Posted by Pablito

        My parents lived in public housing. Best thing they ever did was move. The people that we knew there that didn’t move out? Their lives are a train wreck.

        Everyone needs help at some point in their life. But there is a fine art to parenting. Kids are born not being able to walk. Parents have to teach them. Kids fall, scrap their knees, beg to be picked up. But carry your kids their whole life and you have crippled them. That isn’t fair to the kids.

        Programs like this do not help people develop into being better people. They just perpetuate dependency. We need BETTER social programs – not feel good claptrap like this initiative.

  21. Posted by GR

    Why doesn’t the city start cleaning their own departments like planning department first . Bring efficiency and encourage housing for all income levels. There is only so much money to tax , it’s the matter of how well you utilize the resources

    • Posted by SFTenant

      If we want to talk about resources, how about the fact that there have been decades worth of draconian cuts to HUD, which is now overseen by the expertise of Ben Carson? This initiative begins to reverse those cuts and puts in place a number of accountability mechanisms, including financial audits and performance audits. Moreover, by taxing based on square footage, the largest companies will start to pay more of their fair share, especially after considering how the recent corporate tax cuts gave them a windfall tax break.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        Why not tax on corporate payroll per building? surely a better measure than sq ft? Oh wait, you want to soak homeowners too.

  22. Posted by Brooder

    Taxing housing to pay for housing is always an exceptionally stupid idea.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      The tax here exempts low and moderate income owner-occupied homes (making less than $103,000 for a family of three), and the typical homeowner may only pay around $1-2/day in taxes (could be around 0.6% of income), while the largest office buildings will pay a significantly larger share. In return for that, homeowners also get childcare centers, faster transit, public restrooms, and community meeting spaces.

      Due to Proposition 13, the assessed value of homes has not kept up with their market values, which has led to disinvestment in several key functions.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        You assume homeowners as a group want those bennies. A) Public restroom a.k.a junkie shoot up gallery, B) community meeting space? Where are we lacking these exactly and where is the demand? C) Childcare centers? So those without children again subsidize those that do. D) Faster transit? Oh, you mean MUNI? lol.

  23. Posted by goodmaab50

    Government is selling off land, the worst decision possible.
    Cities are not able to produce and procure sites and housing development affordable as essential needed housing.

    We therefore need a system and process in place to acquire and redevelop housing, and create new opportunities for housing development in SF. Either through a reworking of the SFHA, or an alternative that lets the public decide with an independent panel how to best develop the housing and financing for these endeavors.

  24. Posted by Mike

    No, the parcel tax specifically prohibits the pass through. I guess that wealthy tenants get to avoid paying their “fair share”. I think the sponsors cynically carved out enough voters that would be exempt from the tax to help with passing the proposition. And furthermore, tenant activists never want data to be accumulated on the income of rent controlled tenants.

  25. Posted by Richard

    Would the purchase of existing buildings be at market prices? If so, then it sounds like the proposal respects the right of the building owner to sell at a price they choose, which is hardly communist. Once the City becomes the LL, I suppose they can come up with whatever income or residency tests they want so long as it passes a “public interest” smell test.

    My guess is the initiative is DOA with the tax as high as it is, but if they can scale it back to something reasonable and guarantee that imminent domain will never be used, then maybe it’ll have legs in this burg.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      The legislation uses the Real Estate Division to fairly compensate property owners, which in turn is required to appraise fair market value (“If the Director of Property determines the fair market value of Real Property that the City intends to Acquire or Convey exceeds $10,000 and the proposed Acquisition is not a donation, the Director of Property shall obtain an Appraisal for the Real Property.”)

      Berkeley passed and renewed a $0.37/sq ft floor area parcel tax which helps fund their schools, with exemptions for seniors earning below 50% of AMI.

      • Posted by Richard

        That’s very disappointing to hear. I thought you guys were on to something, but that’s some serious overreach. The opposition materials pretty much write themselves. There are real solutions to the housing crisis out there, but land grabbing without the consent of property owners is one of the most counter-productive measures I could imagine.

        • Posted by SFTenant

          I’m not sure what part of the above response led you to believe that this is without the consent of property owners – I actually said the City does a fair market value compensation. There are more than enough units that go up for sale each year in the city to cover this program, and many sales are not completed.

          • Posted by SFTenant

            All that the Real Estate Division law says it that the City needs to make a fair market value estimate of how much to compensate property owners. There will be a negotiation process like there is with almost any real estate transaction between private groups, but fair market value compensation is essentially required by law.

  26. Posted by another anon

    The tax should be used to relocate people that can’t afford to live here to cheaper parts of the country. Ah, but that doesn’t generate votes for the powers that be.

    • Posted by spencer

      doesnt even have to go to other parts of country, but could just go to fund cheaper places in bay area. housing oakland in 50% cheaper. plus vallejo, san bruno, hayward, etc, all places less than a 40 min public transit commute

  27. Posted by S

    If this was really about community they should look into making this means tested (no one making above average income should be receiving this benefit) and everyone above a certain income should pay into the fund. This seems really unfair.

    I’m sure there are also tons of people paying insane mortgages that are probably above the median income but still paying more than 30% for housing costs.

    Finally, there’s tons of money in the affordable housing fund that the city is just sitting on. They should figure out how to make that money do some good before they start asking for more.

  28. Posted by Patrick

    The Public Housing Project Restoration Act of 2018!

  29. Posted by oh my

    The units would remain “permanently owned and maintained by the city” but overseen and managed by a “Community Council of tenants” in each neighborhood.

    heheheehehheeheheheheheheheheh

    • Posted by SFTenant

      Community Councils have an oversight role, not a day-to-day property management role. They ensure just cause and legal compliance for any evictions the City brings, advocate for improvements, and can ensure that rehabilitation plans ensure tenants’ wellbeing – which is important in the cases of tenants with health and accessibility needs.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        Do the community councils override the need of the management company to actually provide quality living? What happens if tenants continually break rules? I’m guessing you would advocate no evictions.

        • Posted by SFTenant

          Community Councils are structured with bylaws and articles of association/incorporation as needed, and their eviction oversight role is to “ensure just cause and legal compliance with all applicable laws”, as quoted from the full text. This is mostly supposed to stop evictions that are entirely unjustified, such as one example where a tenant was Treasure Island was evicted from their unit because of someone who was squatting in an entirely separate unit.

          Community Councils won’t override the need for the city to provide a good standard of living, but are intended to be an accountability mechanism from the bottom up. As specified in the Notice of Intent for this initiative, they are intended to allow for “tenant oversight and input”.

          • Posted by Ivoryhouse

            If compliance with the law is their sole purpose, why chock full of non lawyers?

          • Posted by SFTenant

            If the Right to Counsel initiative on the June ballot (Proposition F) passes, the tenants will have a lawyer as well. Also, as mentioned in the legal text: “Subject to the availability of applicable City funds, a Community Council may approach any entity to request legal assistance regarding its eviction oversight role, and shall be compensated in full by the Committee for such purposes.”

            The goal is to allow for stopping unfair evictions that can tear apart a community, by giving the community – as an independent entity from the City, or any other third-party group – some control. As the initiative website repeatedly mentions, this initiative is about empowering communities, and in fact there is funding for developing leadership, including for under-represented communities and young leaders.

  30. Posted by Brisket

    “the housing created under this program both has a directive to be self-sustainable”

    The program is designed to be paid for by taxing property owners. By its very definition it will not be “self sustainable.”

    • Posted by SFTenant

      The tax covers acquisition and construction of new units, as well as acquisition and construction of childcare facilities, public restrooms, and community meeting spaces, as well as speeding up transit. The operating and capital costs can be covered with the mixed income distribution that this initiative creates.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        The proposal is not self sustaining or you wouldn’t need a tax. This proposal is an absolute joke. Cronyism and outright falsehood will riddle such a Prop should it pass.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        Oh and you also say funds for new leaders etc. So what is this proposal? Free housing for life? Or childcare? Or transit? Oh wait, also funds political actvism. My head is spinning.

        • Posted by SFTenant

          The tax is to expand the housing stock under this program, and create amenities. Additional revenues are needed to buy land and construct housing. The housing stock itself is self-sustainable, with rents covering operating and capital costs due to the mixed-income distribution, which keeps individual buildings running even though the profit margins are not very large (like they are in private for-profit market-rate developments). This is more of a mixed-income distribution than typical past public housing has allowed.

          The proposal in this legislation is holistic, and is not a single-issue solution. “Free housing for life” is entirely inaccurate.

          • Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

            Why not spread the tax burden across industries? Why are current owners of property the best source of revenue? Merely because the system is convenient to tax property owners? Why not levy payroll taxes on companies with employees living in San Francisco and operating outside the boundaries?

            Do you really think that taxing housing is the best way to provide more housing?

          • Posted by Ivoryhouse

            Why is it inaccurate? If I have no income, you won’t evict me right? So, seems as close to free for life as you can get.

          • Posted by Brisket

            Well if somebody buys me a yacht I can rent it out occasionally to pay for maintenance and it will then be “self sustainable”, but I still got it for free because someone other than me paid for it. This is the most tortured definition of sustainable I’ve ever seen attempted.

  31. Posted by anon2anon

    While I’m impressed with the calmness and reasonableness with some the pro-parcel tax commenters, there is no need for a new program that grants additional funds to childcare, public restrooms, community spaces, or transit.

    SF has plenty of programs and money to do all of those things with out this parcel tax. Not to mention that more money will not speed up Muni since that is more of an issue with street traffic and number of stops. Moreover, the addition of more rent controlled or rent subsidized units will only create a bigger divide in SF. There are already so many taxes and regulations on landlords (that might as well be a tax) that non-rent controlled housing will only get worse…feeding the housing crisis.

    What we need is better and more reasonable planning and building laws that make construction of multi-unit non-luxury housing pencil out. Additionally, if allowed (by the new state law) the majority of the city could easily be built an additional 2 stories higher, which in my opinion could easily resolve the housing crisis within 2 years.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      The money spent on transit is largely intended to improve bus scheduling frequency to every five minutes during peak commute periods (if other rapid transit isn’t available), and to serve in part as a development impact “fee” to pay for adequate transit as affordable housing is created. In a lot of areas, even during peak commute periods, scheduling frequency is every 10-15 minutes, which makes it inconvenient to use buses to get to work. By paying for more drivers and bus operating/maintenance costs, increasing bus scheduling frequency to every five minutes should be feasible, after making the one-time expenditure of purchasing more buses. It won’t fully resolve issues with street traffic (since no one piece of legislation can resolve every issue), but it will at least ensure there are enough buses so that San Francisco can join other cities in the world in having a decent bus scheduling frequency during peak commutes.

      The goal of the other amenities (childcare centers, public restrooms, and community spaces) is to create enough of these that are in close proximity to the housing (typically within a quarter-mile radius), so that – for example – families can drop their children off before going to work. The initiative tries to take a holistic look at what communities need to thrive in their neighborhoods.

      Easing affordable housing development for this program is also part of the legislation proposed, in the sense that the Planning Commission and Planning Department are directed to assist in this program and proposing changes to the General Plan, as well as assisting in any analyses as necessary. The program will cover the pay of these dedicated staff as well, so it won’t take away from other roles that Planning plays.

      • Posted by Ivoryhouse

        A bus every five minutes? I can only imagine the congestion and chaos. Seriously.

        • Posted by anon2anon

          Schedule frequency for in demand routes is 5-10mins, and even at 10-15 mins that does not create a big impact on peoples trips in SF. The biggest issue for muni buses is traffic and that will hopefully be partially resolved by BRTs. Adding more buses that then get stuck in traffic will not help.

          While I agree that SF could use more public restrooms (even if they are kind of blight on the streets), I cannot imagine that SF doesn’t already have programs to support or subsidize childcare and community centers. In addition, having a holistic view doesn’t change the fact there are already people and money providing support for communities without this new tax being added.

          Honestly, that last part throws me for a loop. Can we not get proposed changes to the general plan and additional staff in the planning dept. without this tax? If that new plan does call for planning to assist in the program, that basically sounds like buildings built by the city subject to different rules than all the other developers?

          Most importantly, for this proposal to encompass so much work and new regulations/subsidies seems like a mistake or easily mis-run. It should be broken up and presented as separate plans as some of them don’t require additional taxes. I for one would be happy to support additional tax if it meant getting more subways in the city or more staffing for the planning dept. (as much as I disagree with their rules and way it’s run).

        • Posted by SFTenant

          It’s far better than having 20 cars on the street with just one person in each car, and folks will be more willing to use public transit if it is more reliable for them. A single piece of legislation can’t resolve every single traffic and congestion issue in San Francisco, but joining the rest of the world in upgrading our bus system.

          • Posted by Ivoryhouse

            Most of the daytime muni buses only have one person. I’d prefer one car (even a motorized scooter, oh wait….)

          • Posted by SFTenant

            The money on transit is intended to speed up peak commute periods. As defined in the legislation: “Peak Commute Periods” shall include, at a minimum, the hours of 6 AM to 9 AM and 4 PM to 7 PM on Mondays through Fridays, and may include additional hours if designated by the Committee.

    • Posted by spencer

      agree. good points.

  32. Posted by SFLandlord

    43 cents a square foot. Highway robbery.

    • Posted by SFTenant

      This initiative exempts low-to-moderate-income owner-occupied homes earning below the AMI (Area Median Income). Was it “highway robbery” when Berkeley passed a $0.37/sq ft parcel tax, with exemptions for low-income (50% of AMI) seniors, to help fund its schools? Was it “highway robbery” when the federal government disinvested from communities by continuously cutting HUD and giving tax breaks to corporations, and when it perpetuated redlining in the 20th century?

      • Posted by spencer

        do you honestly think a homeowener making $150K can afford one more dime of taxes?

  33. Posted by glaucon

    I think this initiative will drive more middle-income families with children out of the city. If you make 200-400K/year, you are not rich in SF and you’ll need to be frugal to be able to buy your first home. Even if you buy a below-median priced home, you’ll pay over $1,000 a month in property tax, while empty-nesters pay almost nothing due to prop 13. Any additional tax – however low – is just crazy. First the Trump tax changes and now this: it seems like there is a concerted effort to have only four types of residents in SF: older homeowners benefiting from prop 13, lucky low income renters, mid-to-high income renters without kids and the super rich (maybe add the homeless as a fifth group).

    The secondary benefits (child care, public transit) could be useful, but why not make a separate initiative for that rather than combining it with a communist-style public housing initiative (and this comes from someone who grew up in social-democrat Northern Europe).

    • Posted by SFTenant

      If you’re making $200-400k/year, you’re making well over 200% of the median income for a family of three. You’re also in around the top quartile of SF income earners, depending on your household size. This initiative will cost around $1-2/day for the typical non-exempt homeowner, depending on the size of property. For someone earning $200k, that’s equivalent to around a 0.3% income tax.

      The initiative was written to help support families (with accessible childcare), really consider what communities need, and help communities thrive, with a holistic focus. Nothing about this is communist-style – it lines up with how social housing, municipal housing, and community land trust type models have worked across the world, including in Europe.

      • Posted by glaucon

        I look at the costs to be a home-owning family in San Francisco. All our friends are moving away because they can’t buy a home (even with good salaries) and/or don’t like the quality of the public schools. We were lucky to be able to buy, but are spending a ton on mortgage, tax and private school. We are happy to save a couple of dollars a day, that’s why we still buy stuff of off Craigslist, have IKEA furniture and drive an old crappy car.

        I believe the median income you quote includes Marin and San Mateo, not exactly accurate for SF proper.

        • Posted by SFTenant

          It’s for SF proper. Here is a link to the American Community Survey. Under row “Median household income”, column “San Francisco County”, you can see that the median income over all families is $103,801. When you adjust for family size, you end up with the stats I linked to above.

          • Posted by Mike

            Once again, any reason why tenants in rent controlled units should not be subject to a pass-through of the tax? Why should the landlord, who may already be subsidizing the tenants rent to some extent, be solely responsible for this parcel tax?

      • Posted by spencer

        whether its above the median or not, anyone making <$400K AS A family is probably mightily struggling as a homeowner

      • Posted by spencer

        do you think its easy for a family making $200K to afford their mortgage, when its 45% of their income? Are you proposing that these families move out of SF to support your tax to help people making $100K get a home and only be required to pay up to 30% of their income

        in what world is that fair?

  34. Posted by SF94114

    Homeowners are already taxed too much, the new Tax laws affect them conversely. too. The middle class is already squeezed each yr, many of them out of town. We need a middle class. We don’t need Leno or Kim!

    I’d prefer to see any multi-unit buildings sold as TIC’s to promote more affordable home ownership for the lower & middle class, not given away as rentals to folks who are not even means tested. It takes a lot of work & sacrifice to buy a home, and owners should not be punished by this unjust tax proposal.

    YOUNG PEOPLE BEWARE OF these kinds of proposals!

    • Posted by glaucon

      yup, totally agree

    • Posted by SFLandlord

      but but how will tenant activist groups keep their power if people are encouraged to own their own property?

      • Posted by SF94114

        Tenant activists are the reason we keep the rent so high.
        Less rule, lower rents. Nicer town.

  35. Posted by Dave

    San Francesco can’t even manage it’s streets – the tourist industry is pleading for the city to do so. The filth, crime and drug use is pervasive and is driving tourists away. Given that SF is perhaps the most dysfunctional city in the country, do we really want the city to take charge of this potentially massive public housing project?

    • Posted by Anon123

      Didn’t think it would come to this, but I agree with Dave, at least the part about the City being a poor choice to head up this massive project.

      • Posted by Kevin Smith

        You are right, the public housing the city already has was seized by the Feds because of massive fraud and mismanagement by the city.

        • Posted by ijustworkhere
          • Posted by anon2anon

            After reading that article, how can anyone believe SF managing housing again would be a good idea?

          • Posted by SFTenant

            That wasn’t municipal housing. That was funded by the federal government, which for decades has been making cuts to HUD, leading to years of capital needs backlog and deterioration. What do you expect when you make cuts to a program and don’t supplement it with funds at the local level? The San Francisco Housing Authority also did not have directives to ensure a mixed-income distribution for self-sustainability, nor did it allow tenants to have an impact in decision-making involving tenants. All of these are pointed out in the Housing Authority’s audits.

          • Posted by spencer

            city govt is even more inept than the federal govt, especially in SF. look at our homeless issue. $330M per year for last 10 yrs . $3.3B and the problem is worse. are these the same folks you want in charge of housing?

  36. Posted by Philip

    More affordable housing? 1)Eliminate mortgage interest deduction completely; 2) End rent control.

    Result: 1) lower home prices.2) more supply of rental property, both from property now withheld from market and from new construction.

    • Posted by P

      3) eliminate prop 13

      • Posted by SFer

        4) Eliminate rent control & restore rights to small property owners = cleaner, safe city w/ more people who care about.

      • Posted by Philip

        Prop 13 does inflate home prices. On the other hand, as with a fixed rate mortgage, the homeowner knows for certain what the tax will be going forward. Nobody seems to care when the guy across the street has a lower or higher interest rate, yet it makes some people angry when their property taxes are different.

        If you cant afford the property tax, dont buy the house. Simple.

      • Posted by Anon123

        3)-a) Eliminate property tax and replace it with a tax on rental income – this would give homeowners an advantage when they compete with real estate investors and increase the number of homeowners who usually take better care of their homes and neighborhoods…

  37. Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

    We should make every individual living in San Francisco who owns Apple, Google, or Salesforce, or Uber, or shares/equity of any technology company worth more than $1billion and which has employees living in San Francisco, register their equity ownership. These tech companies have had a transformative impact on housing demand. We levy a per-$10-of-equity-owned tax on individual asset holders, and used the proceeds to fund affordable housing.

    This would just target the capitalist classes. The hand-to-mouthers would be unaffected.

    How would such a proposal be different from a tax revenue generator that targeted holders of real estate assets? Simply more difficult to administer?

    • Posted by Philip

      Aside from the complete impossibility (and probable illegality) of carrying out such a scheme, what do you do about people who own an index fund in their 401k, or who own shares in a private company?

      Better just to take the rich people and hang them from the lampposts. Once the sans culottes have spent all their new money on wine and song, they can elect a new Napoleon. Worked great the last time.

  38. Posted by anon

    Regardless of the discussions on this forum, the majority of people voting will have no idea what they are really voting on; it’s just the nature of our proposition system with money on all sides trying to obfuscate the actual matter at hand.

    Also, it’s very easy to get people to vote to raise other people’s taxes- especially with something called the “Community Housing Program.” I think you could earmark a billion dollars of this new tax for research into the extinction of the dodo bird and it will still pass.

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