Vote no on Propositions J and K
In spite of a record high city budget, City Hall wants more money. Heather Knight is keeping score for the Chronicle:
...The people in charge of our $9.6 billion want more money.
The biggest tax measure[Proposition K] before voters in November is a three-quarter-cent sales tax increase that would raise $150 million a year — $100 million for transit improvements, and $50 million for homeless services and housing. Lee and the majority of the supervisors support it.
A tax on sodas and other sugary drinks would raise prices by a penny per ounce. Designed with the hope of curbing obesity and diabetes, the money would go into the general fund (emphasis added).
Homeowners would also see their parcel taxes go up by $20 a year to benefit City College if another measure passes. The current parcel tax charges homeowners $79 a year for the institution, and it expires in four years. The new measure would up that amount to $99 a year through 2032. It would pay for faculty raises, libraries, technology and other basics.
The San Francisco school board will ask voters to approve an eye-popping $744 million bond measure to build a school in an undecided location, improve existing facilities, make technology upgrades and build an arts center on Van Ness Avenue. It would also include $5 million for affordable teacher housing, something the district has pledged to build for more than a decade but still hasn’t...
The legality of Propositions J and K is questionable, and the city avoids the 2/3 requirement for raising taxes by funneling the money into the general fund (See also the Voter Information Pamphlet, page 114-123).
Streetsblog and the Bicycle Coalition support Propositions J and K because some of the money will go for so-called "transit improvements."
In a Streetsblog op-ed by Tom Radulovich, Walk SF's Nicole Ferrara, and the Bicycle Coalition's Brian Weidenmeier, a feeble pitch is made for the propositions:
Proposition J would ensure that those funds are dedicated exclusively to two of the most important issues facing our city: fighting homelessness and fixing our transportation systems...Propositions J and K will fund improvements to Muni’s reliability and street upgrades to guarantee safe travel for all of us. They will also help prevent future Muni service cuts and fund affordability programs like Free Muni for Youth and Free Muni for Seniors and People with Disabilities–--programs San Franciscans rely on to be able to remain in this city.
Well, maybe. Since the money raised by Proposition K will all go into the general fund, the city can spend it anyway it wants.
Heather Knight claims that there are 30,751 city employees, but the State Controller, using information provided by the city, says there are 38,101---one city employee for every 23 residents.
Vote no on these propositions. If the city wants to raise the sales tax, it should put it on the ballot for a 2/3 vote.