Well we thought the vote was going to be delayed on the proposed ordinance in San Francisco to impose a fee on all alcohol sold in the city, but it turns out that’s no longer the case, which is a blow to fair play and common sense. Apparently the ordinance’s sponsor, supervisor John Avalos, recently realized that if Prop. 26 passes this November then a vote on the fee will be moot, because that proposition ends the practice of taxes masquerading as fees and all taxes, whether they pretend they’re fees or not, will be subject to a 2/3 margin instead of a simple majority. The proposition is sponsored by the group Stop Hidden Taxes.
To avoid that possibility, supervisor Avalos is instead fast tracking the ordinance and, according to the Small Business Commission, will present it “at the Budget and Finance committee meeting of the Board of Supervisors on August 4 — this is BEFORE the Small Business Commission will be able to make its recommendation (due to happen on August 9) and before he said he would be presenting the ordinance during the last Small Business Commission meeting. He is not sticking to his promises. He is changing the game.”
What Can You Do?
If you own a small business in San Francisco, please consider attending the Small Business Commission meeting on Monday August 2 and most important at the Supervisor’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting at 1:00 pm on August 4 (though some earlier sources say the meeting is at 11:00 a.m., so check to be sure). There is expected to be a major rally at 11:00 in front of City Hall by proponents of the tax (firefighters union, healthcare union, etc.). At this hearing, the committee will take public comment.
The ordinance will then go to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, August 10th at 2:00 pm. If you’re a San Francisco consumer of alcoholic beverages, please consider attending this meeting and telling the board of supervisors that you drink responsibly and do not burden the city’s services and should therefore not be punished by having this tax imposed.
On this day, the ordinance will go to the Board of Supervisors again for a second vote. There is no public comment or discussion — this is a formality vote.
It then goes to the Mayor, who has 10 days to veto or sign. If he vetoes it, there will be a major effort by the Marin Institute to get the Supervisors to override the veto with a 2/3 vote.
The Two Most Important Things You Can Do
- Write or e-mail your supervisor and urge him or her to vote no against the Alcohol Mitigation Fee Ordinance. There is information to assist you in letter-writing or e-mailing at the California Alliance for Hospitality Jobs website.
- Attend the August 10th, 2:00 pm, Board of Supervisors meeting.