You may have heard of this story if you live in San Francisco or have heard horror stories from friends or loved ones about the price of rent there. On July 5th, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors announced that he is proposing a tax on tech companies in the area to help tackle the issue of skyrocketing rent and rapidly accelerating number of chronically homeless individuals in the city.
For years, the issue of rising rent in San Francisco has been a fact that has publicly been spun as a sign of progress for the geographically small city but is known to have had a pretty impactful effect on the city’s residents, many of whom had been living there for generations before they were priced out of their homes and sometimes even the city by skyrocketing housing prices that incoming tech companies exacerbated and did little to help grapple with.
Economic growth is good, and the fact that the city gave tax breaks to companies that relocated to low-income communities in the city was arguably a good move, but it helped to spur the development of a situation where wealthy tech companies relocated to the city for many different reasons thereby pushing out low-income residents who couldn’t meet the rising price that tech companies’ demand creates in the housing market.
Perhaps this new “tech tax” isn’t the best idea out there, but it’s worth the conversation in San Francisco.