2020 Bay Area Council Voter Guide
As the Bay Area struggles to emerge from one of the worst economic downturns in generations, a raft of general tax measures threatens to hamper what is already expected to be a long and painful road to recovery. Cities and counties across the region are proposing a total of 34 tax increases on the November ballot, including on businesses, consumer sales, utilities, hotels and real estate transactions. And for the first time in our history, the Bay Area Council is weighing in to oppose all of them. We don’t take this action lightly.
The Council has long supported some taxes for specific purposes, including transportation, housing and education, but with our economy in tatters and the future uncertain now is not the time to add to the pain with new levies. That was also the position of the San Francisco Chronicle in a recent editorial that noted many of the proposed taxes come with little accountability and would extend many years into the future. In a meeting with the Chronicle ahead of its editorial, the Council also highlighted rapidly rising public pension and post-retirement benefit costs as another major reason cities and counties are looking to taxpayers for financial help. Safely reopening our economy and getting people back to work must be our top priority in addressing our economic woes, not increasing taxes that will only help drive away business, investment and workers and put us at a competitive disadvantage with other regions and states where taxes are lower.
While the Council is not actively campaigning against these local tax measures, we are mounting an intensive public education and information campaign to highlight the ill effects new taxes have on creating jobs, attracting business investment and retaining businesses that are increasingly looking outside the Bay Area and California for opportunity. In addition, the campaign is focused on building a large coalition of supporters to advocate against another round of tax increase proposals we expect to surface in the state legislature next year. To learn more about our campaign and to make a contribution, please contact Chief Operating Officer John Grubb.
In addition to local tax measures, the Council has also taken positions on a range of state propositions. In particular, we are strongly opposed to Prop. 15, a badly misguided measure that will dramatically increase taxes on commercial properties and send another strong signal to business and investors that California is an unwelcoming place. And we are heartily endorsing Prop. 16 to provide greater opportunity for women and people of color in public hiring and contracting and accessing education. Regardless of how you cast your ballot, please make sure you vote. For a full list of our ballot positions, please visit our website.