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Pandemic Bumps San Francisco’s Gross Tax Rewrite From Ballot

April 15, 2020, 10:37 PM

San Francisco’s planned rewrite of the city’s business tax was knocked off the ballot in the fall due to the economic impact from the coronavirus, Mayor London Breed said Wednesday.

“The fact is at the time when we were planning for a revamp of the gross receipts tax here in San Francisco, we were living in a different reality,” Breed told reporters. “Unfortunately, the focus is going to be on our economic recovery.”

  • San Francisco is anticipating a $1.1 billion to $1.7 billion deficit through the end of June 2022 as sales, use, hotel, and transfer taxes decline. The city has been under a shelter-in-place order since March 17, which is now scheduled to lift May 3.
  • Breed and Board of Supervisors president Norman Yee last year asked the city controller for a gross receipts tax overhaul to take to the voters this fall.
  • The requested next-generation tax would have replaced the gross receipts structure voters adopted in 2012. That measure was meant to phase out the much-despised 1.5% payroll tax.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at; Sony Kassam at

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