Poll finds voters support tax breaks for job creators 

click to enlarge Support for ranked-choice voting is down from 2011. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Support for ranked-choice voting is down from 2011.

San Franciscans are growing more confident about The City’s economy and support tax breaks for companies that create jobs, according to a new poll released by the Chamber of Commerce today.

Overall, nearly 60 percent of people said San Francisco is “going in the right direction,” compared with only 44 percent who perceived forward progress in 2011 and just 29 percent who felt that way in 2010. And while 45 percent of residents still feel the economy is getting worse, 26 percent say it’s getting better — more than double the number of people who responded positively in 2011.

Chamber of Commerce President Steve Falk said job creation remains at the forefront of economic needs, and residents support new taxes only if they include an incentive to provide more work opportunities. While tax breaks for job creators were favored by more than 60 percent of respondents, no consumer taxes covered by the poll received a majority of support.

The sentiment comes on the heels of the so-called “Twitter tax break” that eliminated payroll taxes in The City’s Mid Market area last year to entice the growing microblogging company to stay in town.

“The City is going to get back 20 times more in revenue that they would have in payroll tax,” Falk said. “We have to get smart about economic growth as a way to raise revenue, not taxes.”

Other problems remain, however, including the state of public schools and homelessness. Along with jobs, those issues topped the list of major problems facing The City. Panhandling was respondents’ top concern.

“In a city where we depend on visitors and the impression we give to visitors, homelessness is not just a nagging issue, it’s an economic issue,” Falk said.

Mayor Ed Lee received a 68 percent favorable rating, compared to 16 percent who don’t care for the newly elected municipal chief. In 2011, Lee received 56 percent support, with only 3 percent viewing him unfavorably.

The poll, released this morning for the chamber’s annual CityBeat Breakfast, was conducted earlier this month with input from 500 San Francisco voters.


San Francisco is headed in

The right direction

2012: 58 percent
2011: 44 percent
2010: 29 percent

The wrong direction

2012: 25 percent
2011: 32 percent
2010: 51 percent

Quality of life in San Francisco is getting


2012: 17 percent
2011: 15 percent
2010: 9 percent


2012: 28 percent
2011: 34 percent
2010: 47 percent

Major issues facing The City

Homelessness: 27 percent
Economy and jobs: 24 percent
Education: 20 percent
Muni 13: percent
Crime 12: percent
City budget: 10 percent

Tax reforms

Payroll tax exemption for businesses that create new jobs

Support: 61 percent
Oppose: 31 percent

Payroll tax decrease from 1.5 percent to 1 percent

Support: 57 percent
Oppose: 29 percent

Elimination of payroll tax, replacing lost revenue with higher business license fees and other business taxes

Support: 25 percent
Oppose: 58 percent

Tax increases

$3 fee to drive in/out of downtown

Support: 23 percent
Oppose: 75 percent

Increase parking tax from 25 percent to 30 percent

Support: 29 percent
Oppose: 60 percent

One-half percent increase in city sales tax

Support: 40 percent
Oppose: 58 percent

7 percent residential utility tax

Support: 15 percent
Oppose: 81 percent

New tax on commercial rents

Support: 36 percent
Oppose: 53 percent

Increasing the business license fee by $100 to $7,500 annually

Support: 34 percent
Oppose: 55 percent

Election formats

Prefer runoff elections

2012: 58 percent
2011: 52 percent

Prefer ranked-choice voting

2012: 31 percent
2011: 42 percent

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