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San Francisco Prop. D — Real-estate taxes and homeless services

Quintin Gellar

San Francisco’s Proposition D is one of several on the ballot about taxes.

The proposed law would increase taxes on San Francisco’s commercial landlords by 1.7 percent in order to fund more housing and homelessness services.

Not all commercial landlords would see increased taxes — about 20 percent would be exempt, including organizations like non-profits, and entertainment spaces like theaters or sports arenas.  

But the rent increase for the remaining commercial landlords would generate an estimated $70 million.

That money would go towards things like subsidies for low income seniors, fixing up SROS, navigation centers, and building middle income housing.

The Politics:

Here’s the catch: there’s another proposition on the ballot — Proposition C — that proposes a higher tax increase on commercial rents and would fund childcare and education.

Prop D has something known as a “poison pill” which means that If Prop C and Prop D both pass, then only the Proposition with more votes becomes law.


And that’s the main reason opponents are against the bill. Some of the more progressive organizations - for example, the SF Berniecrats - think Proposition C is the better one. Some big commercial property owners oppose BOTH Prop C and D and have donated money towards defeating both.



Proponents of Prop D include a number of housing orgs, six members  of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, including our current mayor, Mark Farrell, and mayoral candidate London Breed, who all say Prop D would help address our housing crisis.

Your Vote:

So if you want to tax commercial rent to fund housing and homelessness services, vote yes on Prop D. If you don’t want to impose the tax, or you think that a higher tax should instead go towards childcare and early education, vote no.