Revenue for all

It's time for an unapologetic progressive taxation movement for this November's ballot and beyond, to make the city's great wealth - individual and corporate, often badly undertaxed - work for all San Franciscans

OPINION Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut: this is the sound of your government — parks, schools, playgrounds, hospitals, clinics, public transportation, programs for youth and seniors, arts, social services, the whole fabric that makes San Francisco what it is — fading away as state and local politicians refuse to raise revenue to revitalize our economy.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and big business groups have promoted a defeatist politics of low expectations, cutting spending, laying off city workers by the thousands, and offering tax breaks to businesses and developers rather than tapping San Francisco's deep pockets of wealth to generate economic opportunities citywide.

It's time for a new path: a fiscal politics of optimism, opportunity, and addition rather than subtraction. It's time for an unapologetic progressive taxation movement for this November's ballot and beyond, to make the city's great wealth — individual and corporate, often badly undertaxed — work for all San Franciscans.

As California crumbles, local revenue movements could fuel a statewide campaign of towns, cities, and counties to overturn Proposition 13. San Francisco can take the lead with progressive taxation to create jobs, promote small neighborhood businesses, expand affordable housing and public transit, save public health, and more.

A citywide campaign for progressive taxes is building, including leaders from community-based nonprofits, grassroots organizing and neighborhood groups, labor unions, and some corners of City Hall. There are many promising ideas; with the right political will and organizing, the city could, for instance, tax large-scale real estate and levy profits from large firms. Progressive taxes could, at minimum, bring in close to $100 million and help save critical city services.

To win this campaign, a strong coalition must educate and mobilize the public about the vital importance — and citywide benefit — of raising revenue through targeted taxes on large firms and wealthy individuals. The city's political leaders will need prodding, pressure, and support to get this done.

Progressive taxation will benefit all of San Francisco, not just some — working-class people of color and immigrants who endure the cuts' harshest effects, everyone from youths to seniors, and vitally needed city employees like social workers, nurses, librarians, park workers, and firefighters.

The politics of austerity poses false choices between public safety and public health — as if health isn't a safety issue. San Franciscans of all stripes must reject the pitting of services and "constituencies" against each other, reject the wedge politics that pit labor against nonprofits (both of which work to uplift working-class and poor residents), and unify around progressive revenue.

Nobody likes taxes, least of all the middle class, working class, and poor (the vast majority of us) who shoulder the bulk of the burden. But wealthy individuals and corporations can and must pay their fair share. According to a 2007 World Wealth Report produced by Merrill Lynch, 123,621 households in the Bay Area — many of them in San Francisco — "had $1 million or more in financial assets in 2007, up 10.8 percent from the year before," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

At a Feb. 14, 2007 Town Hall on Poverty in Bayview-Hunters Point, Newsom asserted, "we haven't addressed the wealth divide; we haven't addressed the health divide; we haven't addressed the economic divide ... why in a city like San Francisco has income inequality grown like it has?"

Yet Newsom and others continue to avoid progressive taxation — despite polls suggesting such measures can win. Tell Mayor Newsom, and your district supervisor, to make San Francisco's wealth work for everyone. Now.


I am very interested in contacting the Revenue for All campaign of the Budget Justice Coalition. Yet neither this story nor google searches yield any contact information. Can you provide them?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

Gavin: Could you tell Gordon Getty that we will accept $2.5 mil. ... regarding the overdue $6,440,000 -- the Gettys owe -- after earning the Getty Oil Company shareholders $4 Billion.

I earned the Getty Oil Company shareholders 4 Billion Bucks
On the Reserve acquisition; the way they treat me -- it really sucks!
As the Getty inheritors bask in glee;
All I asked for was that they look after me.
Four billion dollars they earned on Reserve
My fee I surely deserve.
It turns out J.P. Getty may have been a Nazi;
His family even goes back to Germany.
With Hitler, Goring & Goebbels he did stand;
While trying to undermine the American land!
For paintings & artifacts he did receive
With his oil he was able to deceive?
Hoover & the FBI & Roosevelt they knew
That J.P. Getty & espionage he drew!
Many a young lad and Jew did die
As planes dropped bombs from the sky.
For years while Getty sat in Berlin
He may have committed many a sin.
The ashes and smoke from the chimneys it rose
While old man Getty sat cozy; he chose.
With artwork held tightly under his arm
Still dripping in blood -- as the real owner met harm.
Into the ovens & on meat-hooks, bullets between the eyes
Listen very carefully you can still hear their cries!
While the Gettys sit in England; at their estate at Wormsley
And Gordon sings in San Francisco
With his 727 in tow.
The Getty museum sits atop Malibu
While the corpses of World War 2 scream -- J.P. Getty -- We know you!

Posted by MACDONALDBANK1 on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 5:01 am

Also from this author

  • Pelosi defies history and her district

  • Keep the focus on real estate

    Shift gentrification-blame from the hipsters to City Hall

  • The food divide

    San Francisco is a city of haves and have-nots when it comes to nutrition