Supes slash funds for S.F.small biz center

Plans for a one-stop shop that would help small businesses open in San Francisco were put on hold Wednesday after funding for the project was slashed by nearly $500,000.

In May, Mayor Gavin Newsom, along with City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, announced plans for the creation of a so-called Small Business Assistance Center to help prospective merchants navigate The City’s complex permitting process as well as receive business assistance.

The $630,000 in Newsom’s proposed budget to create the center at City Hall was part of the Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office budget for the fiscal year beginning Sunday. The center was strongly supported by business advocates, who in recent years have clashed with the Board of Supervisors, criticizing members for placing too much of a financial burden on businesses by supporting legislation such as a health care spending mandate.

Members of the board’s Budget and Finance Committee refused on Wednesday to award the $630,000 to the department, instead placing only $150,000 on reserve for the center and directing Cisneros to come back to them with a more detailed plan.

Jim Lazarus, vice president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said the committee’s action essentially kills the center. He said the center would pay for itself because of the revenue The City would collect when new small businesses open.

There are 25,500 small businesses in San Francisco and 70,000 people who are self-employed. There are 4,000 registered businesses with 20 or more employees.

Jim Ross, a spokesman for Small Business Advocates, said the committee’s decision shows that small businesses “are continuing to be taken for granted by some members of the board.”

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who chairs the budget committee, questioned the need for the center. “Shouldn’t we be consolidating work force stuff rather than spreading it out into every department in The City?” Peskin asked.

“You would think that every storefront from here to the Excelsior was vacant because this function does not exist,” Peskin said. “That’s not the case. Sales tax is up, real property transfers are up. It’s not such a dire need.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed, pictured here at a May news conference, will be fined for unethical behavior by The City’s Ethics Commission. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Commission fines Mayor Breed over $22,000 for ethics violations

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will fine Mayor London Breed a reported… Continue reading

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, which features a comprehensive water-recycling system, on July 30, 2021. Water recycling in office buildings is seen as a promising sustainability effort, as well as a smart hedge against rising costs and future shortages. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Salesforce Tower is part of a nationwide water recycling trend: Here’s how it works

By Patrick Sisson New York Times When Salesforce Tower in San Francisco… Continue reading

Riders enjoyed a trip on a Powell Street cable car when service returned on Monday. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Most Read