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SF Supervisors Pass Mid-Market Tax Break for Twitter, Other Companies

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For our reporter Rachel Dornhelm’s live tweets from the Board of Supervisors, click here.

Update 3:13 p.m. KQED’s Rachel Dornhelm has tweeted that the legislation passed 8 to 3, with only Supervisors Avalos, Mirkarimi, and Campos voting no.

Earlier post
If so inclined, you can watch today’s meeting of the full San Francisco Board of Supervisors starting at 2 p.m. No. 8 on the agenda:

[Business and Tax Regulations Code – Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion in Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area] 1101558. Sponsors: Mayor; Kim, Chiu, Farrell, Cohen, Wiener and Chu

Ordinance amending Article 12-A of the Business and Tax Regulations Code by adding Section 906.3 to establish a payroll expense tax exclusion for businesses located in the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area and requiring persons with an annual payroll expense of over $1,000,000 to enter into a Community Benefits Agreement with the Office of Economic and Welfare Development. (Fiscal Impact; Economic Impact.)

Question: Shall this Ordinance be PASSED ON FIRST READING?

Cutting through the legalese, this bit of legislation is also known as the Twitter tax break. From the Chronicle’s City Insider Blog:

(The legislation) would allow exempt companies from paying the payroll tax on new hires for six years; they also would get a pass on paying the tax on compensation tied to stock options…

A chief sticking point to be resolved is the geographic boundary. At least part of the Tenderloin area now included in the legislation may be eliminated, with Mid-Market remaining the main focus.

Whatever the boundary winds up being, it is going to include the headquarters of Twitter, which was looking to leave the city before Mayor Ed Lee proposed the tax break, which has a dual goal of revitalizing the semi-decrepit mid-Market area. (For a history of the area, check out the web site Up From the Deep.)


But the proposal has created a stir — what AP has called a “classic San Francisco row” — with a coalition of progressives opposing the deal in the face of the city’s big budget deficit, allegations of back-room deals, and demands on city officials by other SF-based tech companies, such as online gaming firm Zynga, to pony up equivalent tax breaks.

Wireless bandwidth willing, our reporter Rachel Dornhelm will be going way meta and tweeting about Twitter live from today’s scene.

If you don’t already have a rooting interest in today’s vote, these might help:

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