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.