San Francisco voters passed three tax measures this week that will protect or increase revenue in the city’s budget, while rejecting a measure that would have given the Board of Supervisors permission to issue billions of dollars in revenue bonds to take over the local electric utility.
Voters approved Proposition N, which increases the property transfer tax rate on houses worth more than $5 million to 1.5% from 0.75%, with 69% of the vote. The change will raise an estimated $29 million a year, according to city Controller Ben Rosenfield.
Voters also agreed to replace the city’s 911 emergency services fee on telephone users with a general tax to avoid a court challenge and to protect about $42 million in city revenue. Proposition O, which also modernizes the telephone users tax to include emerging technologies, passed with 66.3% of the vote.
City residents also voted 74% in favor of Proposition Q, which widens the base on San Francisco’s payroll tax to make it apply to more professional partnerships. The measure will raise about $10.5 million a year, according to Rosenfield.
Voters rejected Proposition H, which would have set a timeline for converting all of the city’s electricity usage to renewable energy and allowed the Board of Supervisors to issue revenue bonds to take over Pacific Gas & Electric’s San Francisco power grid. The public power measure garnered just 41% of the vote after a campaign in which PG&E pumped millions into mailings and television commercials that urged voters not to give the board a “blank check” to issue debt.