Business and Voters United

San Francisco business and voters see eye to eye when it comes to jobs, the economy, the city budget, and just about every other major issue facing San Francisco. Our shared concerns and priorities were made loud and clear today as we unveiled the Chamber’s annual CityBeat poll at our 2010 meeting and CityBeat Breakfast event at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Like businesses, voters are concerned about employment and the fiscal health of our city. According to the poll, jobs and the economy ranked as the city’s top issue, outpacing homelessness and panhandling, education, crime and the cost of owning a home. Voters also ranked the city budget among their top three concerns.

As the city continues to grapple with its high unemployment rate and looming half-a-billion dollar budget deficit, it should come as no surprise that confidence in San Francisco is declining. Fifty-one percent of voters feel that things in San Francisco are on the wrong track, and an overwhelming 84 percent feel the economy has gotten worse over the past few years.

While these statistics are sobering, there is reason for optimism. According to leading Bay Area economist Jon Haveman, signs of recovery are starting to come to bear. The outlook for city revenues is looking up, taxable sales are increasing and homes are selling and appreciating. These are all good signs, but unfortunately not enough for businesses to make the substantial hiring and investment decisions that will be needed to correct the economy in the short-term.

That is why the Chamber has long encouraged economic development strategies, rather than new taxes, to stimulate the local economy. Turns out, voters agree with us. According to the poll, they support a new hiring tax credit, extending the biotech payroll tax exemption, and other measures to assist small business and ensure economic development in our city. On the contrary, they oppose every tax measure polled, except the vehicle license fee, which gained 54 percent approval.

Even on issues outside the economy, voter’s side with business. For example, 71 percent of voters say they would support a sit-lie ordinance to deal with threatening behavior on the sidewalks of San Francisco. This is a measure the Chamber supports and applauds Mayor Newsom for introducing it this week. While homeless advocates call it an attack on poor people – voters are focused on behavior, not social status.

Voters also appear ready for a change at the ballot box with a 48 – 36 percent margin supporting a hybrid-system of elections that would ensure that four supervisors were elected citywide to address the city’s broader issues. The Chamber is seriously considering a ballot measure for November to give voters the option to change the way Supervisors are elected.

As we approach two citywide elections this year, the 2010 CityBeat Poll results are a good barometer of where voters stand on the major issues facing our city. In the months ahead, the Chamber is proud to not only champion the voice of business, but the voice of voters, as we advance our agenda to put jobs first, rightsize city government and build a 21st century economy in San Francisco.

4 responses to “Business and Voters United

  1. The common sense comments that you make are unprecedented in my 10 years in San Francisco. This city needs to be shaken and redirected away from the “progessive” politicos who have nearly ruined it.
    But the supervisor’s hold seems like a death grip and potential mayorial candidates are of the same ilk.
    Can it really be changed?

  2. Mr. Falk, Thank you for this communication and coordinating / delivering this important message to City Hall and the Chamber’s membership. We appreciate your leadership and hope the City’s elected officials pay attention to you and all those who expressed their opinions via the survey..

  3. Pingback: SF Chamber of Commerce 2010 Annual CityBeat Breakfast « hellaPR

  4. Mr. Falk,

    I read with interest your recent article about the state of our City. As a long time resident of SF, I have seen it soar with the eagles and swim with the fish. I am saddened by this recent spate of deficits, harsh measures, slash and burn policies, all at great expense to our residents. I know there needs to be sacrifice from us all just not from some of us while the rest get off unscathed. I am referring, in this case to Muni, their drivers and management.

    I take Muni everyday. The surly attitude of many, not all, but many of the drivers is intolerable. Having a bus door closed in your face while the driver clearly sees you in his mirror is downright mean. Watching the slug fest between them and management is sickening, something atune to Nero fiddling while Rome burned! The deminishing service daily and the crowded and getting more crowded busses don’t bode well for our environment as more people opt to use private vehicles clogging our already clogged streets and parking places. Now they are asking us to pay more for less and grin and bear it. I say enough is enough! My question to you, Sir is this, why don’t we privitize Muni? Solicit bids from reputable transit companies who can run our system in a way befitting a world class city. Most of us wouldn’t mind paying more if things were run better. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this matter. Thank you in advance for your input.

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