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Cities Policy

Square, Stripe Double Down on Opposition to New S.F. Tax

An upcoming ballot measure in San Francisco to fund new housing, shelters and mental health services for the homeless continues to divide prominent tech firms in the city. Unlike Seattle’s proposed tax on large businesses to fund homelessness services earlier this year, which elicited mostly united pushback from Amazon and other business groups, San Francisco’s debate has some twisted politics. Marc Benioff, co-CEO of the city’s largest employer, Salesforce, has been an unlikely cheerleader for the measure, arguing the opportunity to reduce homelessness was worth the small tax hike. On the other side,  Stripe and prominent venture capital Michael Moritz have poured money into the opposing the measure. Other tech firms have mostly stayed out of the fight.

Jack Dorsey, another opponent, pointed to an “unfairness” in how tech firms are affected: Square and Stripe “would be taxed at a significantly larger total contribution than much larger companies like Salesforce,” he tweeted, adding the company won’t “know how to practically grow in the city. That’s heartbreaking for us as we love SF and want to continue to help build it.” Stripe CEO Patrick Collison also posted a letter Friday explaining the firm’s opposition, pointing to local politicos like Mayor London Breed who have also said the measure won’t help solve the city’s homelessness problem because the money comes with little accountability.

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