Lee’s legislation could give voice to SF businesses

For years, many San Francisco politicians, like too many in Sacramento, have believed they could pile regulations and taxes upon local businesses without worrying about the effect it would have on jobs and the economy. The past four years of the Great Recession and its sluggish aftermath have shown that there are consequences to even the best-intended legislation.

A recent Market Watch survey revealed just how bad the situation has become in The City. First the good news: San Francisco is the second-best place in California in which to do business. (San Jose came in first.) But that’s not saying much because California is riddled with business-unfriendly cities.

The bad news is that San Francisco is only the 31st-best place in the nation in which to conduct business out of 102 major cities. The ranking is based on two criteria: company concentration and economic climate. San Francisco finished in the top third mainly due to the number of businesses here.

The really bad news is that The City ranks a pitiful 80th in economic climate, which factors in economic output, personal income growth, unemployment rate and job growth. This world-class city is beaten out by the likes of Bakersfield; Scranton, Pa.; Tucson, Ariz.; Allentown, Pa.; Wichita, Kan.; El Paso, Texas; and Cleveland. On the bright side, San Francisco edged out Fresno.

Clearly, there’s a significant problem, despite the decline in the unemployment rate this year from 9.5 to 7.8 percent. It’s vital, as well as refreshing, that Mayor Ed Lee has made the creation of good-paying jobs his top priority.

He has placed on the June ballot a Charter amendment that would require the city controller to review legislation by the supervisors that could hurt businesses and kill jobs. If the legislation might do economic harm, it would be sent to the Small Business Commission for review and possible development of alternative proposals that might achieve similar results at less cost. The alternative legislation would have been heard by the Board of Supervisors at the same time as the board’s original disputed proposal.

Of course, the amendment’s value will depend on the competence of the small business commissioners, with a 4-3 majority appointed by the mayor. It must be admitted that most San Francisco commissions do not have a reputation for effective accomplishments. Therefore it might be reasonable to try these jobs impact hearings as a pilot test before locking it in as another permanent charter amendment.

But in the end,  anti-job-killer legislation  could be a decent step forward in giving San Francisco businesses a greater voice and a bit more control over their destiny.

editorialsOpinion

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read