In November, voters in San Francisco–by some measures the most expensive city in the country–will decide on a ballot measure Proposition C, AKA “Our City, Our Home,” that could raise up to $300 million per year to fund subsidized housing and new services to help get homeless people off the streets. The money would come from a “gross receipts tax” averaging 0.5% on companies’ annual revenue over $50 million. That could affect about 300 firms, reckons the city’s Chamber of Commerce, who aren’t happy about it, as it has made abundantly clear in a recently launched opposition campaign called Right Priority, Wrong Approach.
Alan Auerbach is an expert in tax policy. It takes a PhD in economics to understand how the problem of homelessness is so big that San Francisco is better off not doing anything about it. pic.twitter.com/jgdqpblZNi
— Right Priority Wrong Approach (@WrongApproachSF) August 8, 2018
But good luck googling it. You’re likely to find only a parody website and social media accounts set up by pranksters sympathetic to the ballot measure. In their excitement, tax opponents apparently neglected to register the domain rightprioritywrongapproach.org, which pro-tax advocates snapped up to build a parody site. Their biting sarcasm extends to the campaign’s supposed mission statement: “Because we care about homelessness . . . but we care more about our tax breaks.”
The campaign website also features Onion-style photos and fake quotes from tax opponents or skeptics. One, from Chamber of Commerce VP of public policy Jim Lazarus reads, “Homelessness is the No. 1 issue facing SF. But it’s not fair to ask the largest corporations to pay a little more–especially after Trump just cut their taxes.” (I have spoken with Lazarus, and his arguments are more nuanced than that.)
Even in one of the world’s technology capitals, it seems, many businesses could benefit from some digital marketing and social media training.