Foes of parking tax hike raise $130,000 

Groups say measure would reduce business downtown

A committee has raised more than $130,000 to shoot down a measure on next month’s ballot that would increase San Francisco’s parking tax.

Of the four committees either supporting or opposing November ballot measures that filed campaign finance statements with The City’s Ethics Commission, the No on Proposition E committee has raised by far the most.

Prop. E, drafted by Supervisor Chris Daly, would increase The City’s parking tax from 25 percent to 35 percent. Last year, the parking tax generated $55.18 million for The City, with $33.12 million going toward its operating budget and $22.06 million going toward Muni. Prop. E would levy a 35 percent tax on operators of valet services, parking garages and parking lots throughout The City.

For every $8 spent on parking in San Francisco, The City currently receives $2.

Daly placed Prop. E on the ballot on Aug. 9, the last day for city supervisors to place measures on the ballot with the signatures of four supervisors.

Within a short time, The No on Proposition E committee, which bills itself as a coalition of labor unions, small businesses and parking garage operators, has raised $130,005.

Campaign finance forms filed with the Ethics Commission on Thursday show the committee has received contributions as high as $10,000 from parking companies and labor unions. In addition, according to the forms, contributions include $2,000 from Marriot International, Inc., $5,000 from Trinity Management Services, owned by local developer and landlord James Sangiacomo, who is proposing a 1,900-rental unit development at Market and Eighth streets, and $10,000 from the Hearst Corporation ServiceCenter, based in Charlotte, N.C.

"If there are measures that threaten downtown business interests, they have the resources to come out against it," said San Francisco-based political consultant David Latterman. "They also have the wherewithal to raise a lot of money quickly."

Proponents of Prop. E say increasing the parking tax by 10 percent will decrease the number of people who drive in San Francisco, improving the environment and easing traffic congestion. It would also raise millions more dollars for city services, proponents say. Opponents, however, say that the tax increase would hurt businesses since the parking rates would have to increase and fewer customers would choose to drive downtown.

Among other campaign committees, the Yes on Proposition A, Let’s Rebuild San Francisco’s Schools committee has raised $40,000 to date in support of a $450 million school facilities bond, according to campaign finance filings.

The committee campaigning to pass Proposition F, which would require businesses to provide paid sick leave, has raised $10,619 this year, with its largest contribution, $3,000, coming from the Service Employees International Union, Local 790.

The committee working to pass Proposition H, which would require landlords to pay more to tenants who are evicted through no fault of their own, has raised $2,895 this year.

Measures generating political contributions

Proposition A: $450 million school facilities bond measure

Proposition E: Would increase The City's parking tax from 25 percent to 35 percent beginning January 2007

Proposition F: Would require San Francisco employers with less than 11 employees to provide five sick days a year per worker and businesses with more than 10 workers to provide nine sick days a year per worker

Proposition H: Would require landlords who evict tenants for capital improvement projects or by invoking the power of the state law known as the Ellis Act (which allows landlords to evict tenants if they want to get out of the rental business) to pay tenants $4,500 in relocation costs, which is a $3,500 increase

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