A vacancy tax intended to encourage property owners to fill storefronts promptly was approved by voters in March. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Supes delay storefront vacancy tax until 2022

After the coronavirus pandemic shuttered San Francisco many businesses and sent the local economy into a tailspin, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to delay implementation of the voter-approved vacancy tax on empty storefronts.

The unanimously approved one-year delay was proposed by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who had introduced Proposition D, the storefront vacancy tax for the March ballot. The tax will now go into effect in 2022, not 2021.

The measure was seen as one strategy to address a proliferation of vacant storefronts in San Francisco neighborhood commercial corridors, despite a strong economy. The vacancies were blamed in part on landlords asking for exorbitant rents.

“I think we all agree that this global pandemic definitely is in the category of severe and unforeseen events that is throwing a wrench into the proper functioning of this voter approved tax,” Peskin said. “I want to reassure everybody that in time this vacancy tax will work precisely as intended when our economy recovers.”


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