An increase in the parking tax isn’t on the horizon for San Francisco lots, but a crackdown on their revenue may be.
Although a parking tax increase didn’t make the November ballot, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced legislation asking for stricter enforcement of the current parking tax, which he believes would net The City millions in untapped revenue.
The legislation would lead to installation of revenue-control equipment at garages and increase fines for parking operators who do not file a tax return with The City. And it would increase citations and the bond amount that operators must put up in order to get a license.
“I made it clear when I pulled the parking tax that we would continue to work with the Treasurer’s Office and that we will search high and low for untapped revenue that we believe is not being collected,” Mirkarimi said.
Mirkarimi originally proposed raising the current tax on private garages and lots from 25 to 35 percent with a ballot measure that could have generated $16 million for The City.
Parking garage owners said they think The City can get the same money they wanted from a tax increase with better enforcement.
“It’s good. There are a lot of scofflaw parking people out there not paying their fair share of their taxes,” said Ron Britz, assistant manager of the California Parking Co., which operates more than 40 garages in San Francisco.
There are an estimated 550 parking operations in San Francisco, which are audited once every three years by the tax collector. In fiscal year 2009-10, The City collected $65 million in parking tax revenue.
Mirkarimi’s proposal goes hand in hand with Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier’s legislation requiring background checks and criminal histories of employees who work at garages and parking lots before an operator can get a business permit.
The goal is to make the garages safer and better regulate the industry.