Left-right punch knocks out increased development fees for Muni


A new and unusual coalition of nonprofit, religious, and corporate interests today killed a legislative effort to get more money for Muni through the Transit Impact Development Fee, which was going through its process of being reauthorized every five years and came to the Board of Supervisors today.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was hoping to get millions of dollars more per year from the fee to help cover the increasing costs of Muni service, so the city last year commissioned a study establishing a nexus between new development projects and their impact on the public transit system as a way to set the fees developers would pay.

Using that study, Sup. Scott Wiener sponsored legislation that increased the cost per square foot of development for some business types – mostly notably hospitals, big retail and entertainment complexes, and Cultural/Institution/Education facilities – and ended the categorical exemption for nonprofit organizations.

Those who could be impacted by the increased fees banded together into an organization calling itself NOTT (Non-profits Opposed to the Transit Tax), a group that included the city's major health care providers, religious institutions, and influential nonprofits such as Council of Community Housing Organizations and Chinatown Community Development Center.

“We are gravely concerned that elements of the forthcoming Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP), especially elimination of the non-profit fee exemption, have been selectively imbedded in the TIDF update legislation. Elimination of the non-profit exemption has not been considered through a thorough and transparent process and is not good public policy,” SF Chamber of Commerce President Steve Falk wrote in Nov. 27 letter to supervisors on behalf of the organization.

In the face of opposition from both downtown and progressive groups, and hoping to get SFMTA more money for its next budget cycle, Wiener appealed for support to sustainable transportation activists, who had mixed feelings on the legislation for reasons ranging from its exemption of parking garages and development in Mission Bay to its inclusion of organizations serving low-income communities.

So Sup. Sean Elsbernd – who spoke on behalf of Catholic schools and churches – was able to amend the legislation back to the status quo on a 9-2 vote, with only Wiener and Sup. Carmen Chu opposed (Sup. Christina Olague, who co-sponsored the measure with Wiener, even failed to support it in the end).

While that ends this effort for now, it is really only the first round of efforts that are just getting underway to find more funding for Muni, which is underfunded and at capacity on many lines, and implement the TSP when it is unveiled next year.


Just as long as you don't have to pay for it, right?

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

I, and you, have already paid for it. It's called "taxes."

If the money doesn't go for basic human needs, where does it go?
Oh, that's right, let's bail out the banks! Let's give millionaires and corporations tax breaks!

Yeah, that's the ticket....to bankruptcy.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

then you will end up with a very mediocer economy, as the high value add folks will decamp elsewhere, and take their wealth and prosperity creating capability with them.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

Wealth and prosperity are created by workers, not "wealthy" people.
The wealth of this country was derived from genocide, stolen land, and slave labor.
The only logical and fair system of economics is worker ownership of the means of production (see Republic Windows and Doors).

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 10:14 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 11:11 am

Theories are unproven.
Genocide, slave labor, and Imperialism are historical facts.
It's called "research."

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 9:42 am

You're really reaching, "Joseph".

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:47 am

You figure it out, "Guest."

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 7:04 am

rather fatuous argument earlier.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 8:35 am

Only in your Own Little World.....

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 09, 2012 @ 9:18 am

Who the fuck does this John Galt think he is?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 11:34 am

only appears right-wing to you because you're so left-wing and out-of-touch.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

Your posts make no sense.

Your logic is that MUNI should be free because we pay city taxes and the city is rich,... and the reason it isn't free is because the fed bailed out some banks.

You are an idiot.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

No need to get your panties in a twist......

The basic point is that there is plenty of money at all levels of government.
This money was extorted from average citizens; taxpayers. This money is presently given to corporations that have been mismanaged to the point of failure, corporations that produce weapons of mass destruction, banks and insurance companies that have been defrauding their customers, millionaires and billionaires in the form of "tax breaks," (they could not be rich if not for public education, roads, and other infrastructure paid for by us "losers"), and utterly corrupt foreign governments. It is also being spent to murder poor dark people all over the world.
San Francisco has it's own mini-version of this waste, fraud, and abuse. You know who you are. The richest City in the richest state in the richest country in the history of the world could easily afford free healthcare, education, and transportation for all it's residents, and some non-residents too.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 10:01 am

ticks over by not properly funding their crushing pension liabilities.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 11:10 am

Cities and states are prohibited from running fiscal deficits. In the long run, liabilities might be more than assets, but in the long run, we're all dead so who gives a fuck?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 11:33 am

They just borrow more and ignore pension liabilities.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

There's an old saying: "figures don't lie, but liars can figure."
Whether or not there are "deficits" depends on what accounting method you use.
The USA, California, and San Francisco are not "broke,"
but rather mismanaged.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

lies, damn lies and statistics.

CA may have affluent individuals and businesses but they could all move tomorrow. So CA can only solve it's debt crisis by bringing everyone together to forge a solution, and not be embarking on a campaign of class warfare.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

Class warfare has been going on since the beginning of human history.
The strong take from the weak, the bright from the not-so-bright, the healthy from the sick, the over-stuffed from the hungry, the rich from the poor. "The money" has to come from those who have it, not those struggling just to survive. If anyone wants to take their ball and leave because they are being asked to give back some of what they have stolen, I say don't let the door hit you in the a-- on the way out. There are "wealthy" people all over the world who would love to live and invest here.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 7:17 am

not done well for themselves, resent and envy those that do, and then try and abuse the political system to take from those who have succeeded.

That's why periodically we have these bouts of "tax the rich". But then, when it is discovered that the tax take actually goes down when you do that (pace Laffer) then it gets thrown into reverse.

We had a 91% top income tax rate fifty years ago. We aren't going back, so you might just have to work for a living instead.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 8:21 am

"It's class warfare and my class is winning"

Or viewed from the other side, "It's only class warfare when we fight back."

Most people work for a living, but it's getting much harder as wages decrease and high unemployment persists. Even today's unemployment report shows a huge number of people so discouraged that they have given up; labor participation rates continue to decline.

Of course, that fact might not register with privileged, complacent people.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 8:46 am

Unless you work in the fields or construction (I have done both), I doubt you even know the meaning of the word "work."
And this isn't about me, it's about the majority of people in the world who work very hard, only to be robbed of their benefits and have their pensions stolen the criminals you seem to regard so highly.

When we had a 91% tax rate for the rich, we were the most equitable society in the world. A soon as we started using taxpayers dollars for private motives (Imperialism), things went to Hell. "Trickle-down" means someone else decides how much you can have. That's predatory capitalism, not Democracy.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 8:52 am

You really need to get back on your med's.

There is not a successful economy on the planet where the State comprises more than 40% of GDP. In the US, right now, it's 26%. In France, 50%. draw your own conclusions. Or move to France.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:51 am

I believe that all nations with higher standards of living spend more of their GDP on government services and have taxes as a higher percent of GDP than the US.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:12 am

developed centralized governments. If you're in a sticks, stones and spears society, then you don't need building inspectors and traffic wardens.

It's a long way from there to argue that big government CAUSES economic growth. Rather, economic growth enables us to afford a bigger government, if and only if it doesn't get out-of-control.

Repeat after me three times. "Correlation isn't causation".

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:22 am

There are many countries that are "backwards" where taxes as a percentage of GDP and the share of tax by income are higher than the "developed" nations.

But it is true that with Switzerland excepted, special case, all countries with higher standards of living than the US have a larger public sector as a share of economy and where the rich pay even more tax as percentage of income and of tax burden than here in the US.

Economic sharia is wrong on this aspect of dogma.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:33 am

Wealth makes large government possible. It6 doesn't follow that big government causes prosperity and most economists understand that very well.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

missed the housing bubble so I wouldn't put much stock in what they believe. Most people believed that the world was flat, that the sun revolved around the Earth, and in Social Darwinism, all discredited theories. You probably still believe in Social Darwinism, however.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:24 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:33 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 10:20 am

economy on the planet?

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:25 am


Arguably the US, I suppose.

Note that many of these are tax havens too. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

Uh, the 91% thing is a fact. I suggest you learn to read something other than text messages. Try "A People's History Of The United States" by Zinn and "Harvest Of Empire" by Gonzalez to begin with.

It is widely acknowledged the Scandinavian countries have the most successful economies and highest standards of living for all their citizens in the world
France is also widely acknowledged as having the best health care system (free) in the world. This is because Big Government takes care of it's people in most of the developed world. And by "widely acknowledged" I mean "do your own damn research."

The United States is presently 50th in infant mortality rate and 33rd in education. Con Agra says nearly 16 million children are at risk for hunger in America. This is because taxpayers money went to your rich Overlords, not because of "big government."

OBTW, there is no such thing as Big Government. This country is presently run by a Continuing Criminal Enterprise consisting of privateers, profiteers, plutocrats, and the Military-Intellegence Industrial Complex. Those people in Washington are simply the public relations arm of Big Business.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 8:15 am

high taxes does not mean that high taxes cause prospoerity.

Correlation isn't causation.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 8:34 am

Oh I get it, you simply do not "believe" that fat meat is greasy.
Or are you not capable of understanding the laws of Cause and Effect?
Or are you lost in the American Dream, which is actually a Consumer Trance?

Let me ask you something, what does your "work" produce?

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 10:18 am

I, and you, have already paid for it many times over.
They're called "taxes."

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

We have to pay for the refusal of developers to mitigate their impacts on transit so it is free profit for developers with our time spent waiting in traffic.

You'll not be happy until Americans are compelled to march in procession bearing gold bricks on red velvet pillows with golden tassels for Wall Street bankers, venture capitalists, developers, nonprofits and the politicians that screw us on their behalf.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

Here here!

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

consume in city services.

If you support such fees and taxes because you are a socialist who believes in wealth redistribution, then fine. But at least be honest about that rather than trying to maintain the pretence that developers are actually getting something for nothing.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

This is a lie. Housing and office developments don't cover their infrastructure costs at occupancy time and don't cover the city services they consume over their useful lifespans.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

Often new housing or office building merely relocate people who are already in the city, meaning that there is no net immigration, meaning no change of services.

I'd like to see each project have it's inpact assessed based on the circ's, rather than some naive formula concocted by a bureaucrat. In many cases, I see little impact and, typically, businesses don't use a lot of city services.

If you want to tax business more, then at least be upfront about it.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

Really? Where are the barriers that guide the population into your wacky social engineering schemes? There are no border guards at the city limits, you have no control over who lives or works anywhere and you like it that way because it allows for displacement of those not deemed sufficiently well off enough to live in the Monte Carlo you're creating.

The City is rezoning for GROWTH which means more people coming in from elsewhere to live, work and play here and with that GROWTH there are needs for the public sector to GROW to the extent that it can handle the added burdens on public systems.

I want to tax business more, especially developers, so that their profits from discretionary entitlements are limited to 6-8% as required by law and the rest is taken to pay for the costs of those new public services users.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 9:17 am

to more people here. Sometimes it just replaces an old facility with no new net impact. That's why exceptions were carved out for a variety of situations.

Much of what is alleged to be "impact" is based on spurious conjecture and masks what this is really about - wealth redistribution. But since taxes are hard to pass, fees are used as a backdoor workaround.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:46 am

The predicate for all new rezoning is the anticipation of growth and requirements from the state that localities plan for growth.

You all will not be happy until the populace is compelled to march in procession with red velvet pillows with golden tassels bearing gold bricks to lavish upon our economic overlords and like it.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:56 am

not all new developments are equal. Some have a lot of impact; others, little or none. Treating them all the same just so you can slap a surrogate backdoor tax on them isn't in the spirit of what the people wish for.

The result of the meeting the other day was a compromise. Muni will get over 100 million in funding - you overlooked that. But some important exemptions were rightfully carved out for hospitals and other providers of vital care, and businesses that are intrinsically vehicle-oriented and need to store them somewhere.

The left needs to learn to compromise with grace, or they will be doomed to remain irrelevant to the silent majority who routinely ignore their candidiates and policies in elections.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:18 am

in November's elections in Alameda County where the voters of Oakland, Berkeley etc. (hardly conservatives) rejected Prop 1B to provide extra tax revenues to public transit.

People like the idea of transit, but hate the corruption, patronage, waste, inefficiency and bloated cost structure of transit authorities and their management, workers and unions.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

That's George Monbiot's word for you. A liberal union town like SF couldn't have this many reactionary knuckle draggers, could it? In all likelihood, this is a concerted campaign to undermine unions and workers. The same thing happened with the climate change debate when corporate interests paid so-called "experts" and trolls to inundate web sites and forums with reactionary rhetoric. Don't drink the kool aid.


Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:38 pm