Mayor Ed Lee wants sales tax replaced if state is unable to extend it 

If the state’s sales tax is slashed by 1 percent, Mayor Ed Lee wants voters to approve a city sales tax replacement in November.

Lee is expected to discuss putting on the ballot a city sales tax measure when he submits his budget proposal to the Board of Supervisors later this week.

The mayor said if Gov. Jerry Brown is unable to extend a 1 percent state sales tax, “we would possibly consider doing one of our own here to make up the difference. So it wouldn’t be a new tax.”

Details are still being hashed out, but Lee said it would likely be a half-cent sales tax with revenue dedicated to such things as health services. A half-cent levy would generate $60 million in a full fiscal year. If approved in November, it would take effect in April and net The City $15 million next fiscal year.

The tax measure would require a two-thirds vote to pass. San Francisco’s sales tax is currently 9.5 percent.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, a more moderate member of the Board of Supervisors, said he could support such a ballot measure.

“I’m open to that,” Wiener said. “We’re in desperate budget straits. Given that this would not raise the sales tax, I think it would be appropriate.”

Just the tax facts

9.5% Current sales tax in San Francisco

8.5% Sales tax if state 1 percent sales-tax cut goes through July 1

9% Possible sales-tax rate in San Francisco in April 2012

$60M Amount a half-cent city sales tax would generate annually

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