Voters reject increase to SF’s sales tax

San Francisco’s sales tax will not increase after voters appear to have rejected the proposed hike to fund transportation and homeless services.

Proposition K, which required more than 50 percent of the votes to pass, would have raised the sales tax to 9.25 percent. However, it appears voters passed Proposition J, a spending mandate for the sales tax that would have amounted to $100 million for public transportation and $50 million for homeless services annually.

The money for transportation would have flown into six areas, including pedestrian safety efforts; making Muni more equitable; continuation of free Muni for youth, seniors and disabled residents; capital improvements; BART and Caltrain; and road repaving.

Of the $50 million for homeless services, some $6.5 million would have gone toward homeless outreach services on the street by adding mental health service personnel to the Homeless Outreach Team.

Another $13.5 million would have gone toward expanding the shelter system to serve some 2,400 homeless annually. The largest amount, $30 million, would have funded new homes or temporary rent subsidies.

The Chamber of Commerce opposed increasing the sales tax and argued it “places overwhelming economic strain on local businesses, especially small businesses, causing costs to rise, businesses to leave or close, and lost jobs.”

The sales tax is now set to drop from the current rate of 8.75 percent to 8.5 percent next year.

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