Mayor Lee and Supervisors
Form Technology Advisory Council

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in News, Politics

Published on April 13, 2011 with 2 Comments

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Photo by Luke Thomas.

From the Office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Editor’s Note: The proposed Technology Advisory Council meetings will not be open to press coverage and community benefits agreements will not be discussed, according to the mayor’s office. “Not open to press and not discussed,” said Chief Deputy Communications Director Francis Tsang in response to FCJ inquiry. “This is a group that is going to meet to ‘recommend new policies related to high-growth, technology companies.'”

April 13, 2011

Council to Advise Mayor and Board of Supervisors on City Policies that affect Technology Firms including Changes to the Current Payroll Tax Structure

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisors Mark Farrell and Ross Mirkarimi today announced convening an ad hoc advisory council comprised of CEOs of large technology firms based in San Francisco, early and late stage venture investors, and legal professionals, as well as a working group comprised of City staff to recommend new policies related to high-growth, technology companies. Mayor Lee helped convene the group to evaluate how San Francisco’s current tax structure impacts companies’ ability to successfully grow jobs in San Francisco and to propose improvements to the current tax structure, while still ensuring everyone pays their fair share for City services.

“San Francisco is home to a thriving hub of technology companies that acts as a driver to attract new companies to our City and create jobs. It is vital that we keep technology companies here to ensure that the vibrant center of innovation and creativity that is being created is sustained,” said Mayor Lee. “We want to make sure that San Francisco technology businesses continue to grow and remain competitive.”

Invitations to join the technology advisory council were sent out last week. So far, technology firms, investment and legal professionals like Yelp!, Twitter, Zynga Inc., salesforce.com, Riverbed Technology, Advent Software, DriverSide, Dorsey & Whitney, Artis Capital Management, Kirk Dizon and Ron Conway have already accepted the City’s invitation.

“These current discussions about mid-Market and stock options raises the reality that our business payroll tax – the only one of its kind in California – is a real disincentive to job growth, and we need to tackle the broader topic of business tax reform,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “Convening this ad hoc council of tech CEOs, venture investors, lawyers and city staffers is the first step in building a better 21st century economy in San Francisco.”

“I believe a thriving innovation economy is critical to our future in San Francisco, and I look forward to beginning a long-term, inclusive dialogue with the leaders of our technology industry,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “San Francisco is competing against other cities throughout the United States for young technology companies and the jobs they provide, and it is our responsibility at City Hall to create a competitive economic climate which attracts them to our City.”

“As part of San Francisco’s broader effort to attract and retain emerging businesses, we must review our business tax code,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. “Several local technology companies have reached a critical juncture in their development and this tax advisory council will allow us to gain important insight form tech business leaders.”

“As a company that was founded in San Francisco, employs hundreds of people here, and works with other San Francisco tech companies to bring consumers and local businesses together, Yelp is deeply interested in policies that increase jobs and promote economic growth in the City,” said Yelp! CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. “I commend the Mayor and Supervisors for creating this advisory council, I am honored to be included and look forward to the opportunity to help the city Yelp proudly calls home – San Francisco.”

The technology advisory council will analyze feasibility and impacts of the current payroll tax structure on emerging, fast growing technology companies and will also advise the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on other quality of life issues, including housing, transportation, and technology infrastructure in San Francisco. The objective of the council is to ensure that policy-makers create a climate in which these technology firms, which employ thousands of San Francisco, can continue to thrive. The council will hold their first meeting early next week.

  • ricksf1

    Will community members be on this Advisory Council or just Tech companies?

  • Hope Johnson

    The ad hoc committee (except the city employee work group) fits the definition of a passive meeting body under the Sunshine Ordinance (created by Mayor & Board members to advise Mayor & Board on policy), which means its meetings must be open to the public on a space available basis (but they don’t have to create an agenda or allow public comment).

    See SF Admin Code Sec 67.3
    (c) “Passive meeting body” shall mean:
    (1) Advisory committees created by the initiative of a member of a policy body, the Mayor, or a department head;
    (2) Any group that meets to discuss with or advise the Mayor or any Department Head on fiscal, economic, or policy issues;
    (4) “Passive meeting body” shall not include a committee that consists solely of employees of the City and County of San Francisco created by the initiative of a member of a policy body, the Mayor, or a department head;
    (5) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (4) above, “Passive meeting body” shall include a committee that consists solely of employees of the City and County of San Francisco when such committee is reviewing, developing, modifying, or creating city policies or procedures relating to the public health, safety, or welfare or relating to services for the homeless;

    and

    SF Admin Code Sec 67.4
    (a) All gatherings of passive meeting bodies shall be accessible to individuals upon inquiry and to the extent possible consistent with the facilities in which they occur.

    (1) Such gatherings need not be formally noticed, except on the City”s website whenever possible, although the time, place and nature of the gathering shall be disclosed upon inquiry by a member of the public, and any agenda actually prepared for the gathering shall be accessible to such inquirers as a public record.

    (2) Such gatherings need not be conducted in any particular space for the accommodation of members of the public, although members of the public shall be permitted to observe on a space available basis consistent with legal and practical restrictions on occupancy.