Media Contact: Gwen Oldham at SF Chamber, 415-352-8839 or goldham@SFChamber.com

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Announces Ballot Positions for November Presidential Election

San Francisco's leading business organization weighs in on key initiatives impacting businesses and the economy

San Francisco, Calif. – The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, which represents 1,500 member businesses and over 200,000 employees in San Francisco and across the Bay Area, announced today its ballot positions for the November 6, 2012 election. Weighing in on the business-related initiatives, the Chamber will work through its political action committee (PAC), SF Forward, to actively support and oppose key initiatives impacting local businesses and the economy.

"The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the initiatives we believe will best help create jobs and grow the economy in San Francisco and across California," said Chamber President & CEO Steve Falk. "The Chamber remains opposed to initiatives that burden local businesses or put our continued economic recovery at risk."

On issues of statewide taxation, the Chamber supports Prop 30 (the Temporary Tax Increase to Support Education & Public Safety) because it is shorter in duration, broadly based and targeted to schools, public safety and deficit reduction. The Chamber opposes Prop 38 (the State Income Tax Increase Initiative) because it does little to reduce the state's chronic budget deficit, which continues to hamper sustained economic growth and long-term prosperity. The Chamber is also putting its support behind Proposition 39 (the California Clean Energy Jobs Act), which will restore taxes previously paid by out-of-state corporations, helping to put California businesses back on a level playing field, while helping to spur energy efficiency and alternative energy projects and close the state's budget gap.

At the local level, the Chamber supports Proposition E (Business Tax Reform to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy) because it will end San Francisco's direct tax on jobs and create a broad and equitable taxation system that encourages job and business growth. While San Francisco City College will benefit from the passage of Prop 30, the Chamber breaks with its long support for local bond and parcel tax measures for education by opposing Prop A (the Community College Parcel Tax) due to the unprecedented fiscal mismanagement that caused in large part the shortfalls now facing the institution.

The Chamber took the following positions on the November 2012 Presidential Election Ballot. The Chamber's voting guide will soon be available at www.sfchamber.com/votingguide.

Proposition A - OPPOSE
Community College Parcel Tax
San Francisco City College provides critical educational and workforce development services for our city. Unfortunately, poor management and oversight of the college have left it financially unstable and the college is now at risk of losing its accreditation. San Francisco City College needs to get its financial house in order before taxpayers invest in a new parcel tax.

Proposition B - SUPPORT
Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond
San Francisco's park system is a critical city asset benefiting our quality of life and contributing to our economy by increasing property values, reducing pollution costs and helping to fuel the city's visitor industry. This $195 million in General Obligation Bond will enhance the city's most visited parks and facilities, make seismic improvements to recreation centers and playgrounds, construct new waterfront parks, and help restore the city's shoreline. As part of the city's Ten Year Capital Plan, the measure will not raise property taxes.

Proposition C - SUPPORT
Affordable Rental Housing and Home-Ownership Fund
San Francisco has an affordable housing crisis, with homes costing more than many working people can afford. Prop C establishes a Housing Trust Fund to build, acquire, rehabilitate and preserve affordable rental and ownership housing for those earning up to 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Funded through property taxes, Hotel Tax allocations, and General Fund revenues, this measure will increase homeownership opportunities for moderate income households and provide a funding stream to produce nearly 9,000 new housing units for lower-income households.

Proposition D - SUPPORT
Consolidate Local Elections for Better Voter Turnout
Currently elections for City Attorney and Treasurer are held with no other contests, so voter turn-out is often very low, while the cost is over $4 million. Prop D changes this so that these two elections are held in the same election cycle as the Mayor, Sheriff and District Attorney. This sensible measure will increase voter turnout and save taxpayers considerable expense.

Proposition E - SUPPORT
Business Tax Reform to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy
San Francisco is the only city in California with a direct tax on jobs. This consensus reform measure, developed by business, labor and City Hall, will phase out the city's Payroll Tax and replace it with a progressive Gross Receipts Tax. The measure will raise the same money the city now receives, will broaden the tax base in a fair manner, and give many existing taxpayers a small tax reduction. New revenue will be raised through the first adjustment to the business license fee in over thirty years to support economic development, affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and job creation.

Proposition F - OPPOSE
Save Hetch Hetchy
The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir delivers pristine, unfiltered drinking water to 2.6 million Bay Area residents. This initiative will require the city to prepare a costly plan that, if enacted, would drain the reservoir, jeopardize the city's water rights and result in huge water rate increases to construct a new delivery system. This is a misguided and costly attempt to fix a system that isn't broken.

Proposition 30 - SUPPORT
Temporary Tax Increase to Support Education and Public Safety
In the last four years, California's schools have been hit with $20 billion in budget cuts and another $6 billion will be cut next year if we do nothing. Prop 30 temporarily increases the sales tax by 1/4 percent for four years and increases the personal income tax rate on individuals earning more than $250,000 a year and couples earning more than $500,000 a year for seven years. The measure will generate up to $9 billion per year and will guarantee it will be spent on education, local public safety services and deficit reduction.

Proposition 31 - SUPPORT
Good Government State Budget Reform
This Constitutional Amendment will help increase accountability and improve the efficiency of California's broken budget process. This measure will require pay-as-you-go budgeting and a two-year state budget process, while prohibiting last minute "gut and amend" state legislation. It also allows for more flexibility for local budgeting through Community Strategic Action Plans.

Proposition 33 - SUPPORT
Discounted Car Insurance for Responsible Drivers
Responsible drivers currently lose their premium discount if they change insurance companies, even with no interruption in coverage. This measure benefits consumers by allowing them to change auto insurance carriers without losing the continuous coverage premium discount, thereby encouraging competition among insurance providers and lowering premiums.

Proposition 37 - OPPOSE
Food Labeling Mandate
Proposition 37 would ban the sale of tens of thousands of perfectly-safe, common grocery products only in California unless they are specially repackaged, relabeled or made with higher cost ingredients. This unnecessary measure will only raise food costs, hurt small businesses and farmers, create frivolous lawsuits, and saddle California with more bureaucracy and red tape.

Proposition 38 - OPPOSE
State Income Tax Increase Initiative
This initiative increases state income tax rates on a sliding scale for most Californians for the next 12 years to fund K-12 education. At a time when voters must consider multiple, competing tax measures, this tax increases will unfairly impact low and moderate income Californians and does little to reduce the state's chronic deficit. Prop 38 will lead to job losses and reduce consumer spending across California.

Proposition 39 - SUPPORT
California Clean Energy Jobs Act
A tax loophole allows out-of-state corporations to pay lower taxes in California, putting California businesses at a disadvantage and costing our state a billion dollars a year. This initiative closes the loophole and requires multi-state businesses to calculate their state income tax based on percentage of sales in California. The measure will recover $1 billion in lost revenues annually, help spur energy efficiency and alternative energy projects and deliver up to $500 million of new funding for education.

*The Chamber was neutral or took no position on all other measures on the state and local ballot.

###

Founded in 1850, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is recognized as the pre-eminent business organization for advocacy, networking and economic growth. The Chamber  delivers on its mission to attract, develop and retain business in San Francisco by representing companies and organizations that make San Francisco a preferred destination for businesses and visitors – a great place to live and work. More information is available at www.sfchamber.com.

SF Forward – the Political Action Committee (PAC) of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce – is the political voice for businesses and residents who support sound economic policy and an exceptional quality of life for all San Franciscans. www.sfchamber.com/sfforward.