Proposition C is about childcare and early childhood education. Brain research shows that’s really important for kids up to five years old.
But San Francisco is a really expensive city. And lots of low and middle income families can’t afford early childcare.
So to help subsidize early childhood education, Proposition C would put a 3.5 percent tax on most commercial landlords — property owners who lease industrial space, office buildings and retail.
Small landlords are exempt. So are some other businesses, such as most nonprofits, arts spaces and home-grown retail.
(The tax on revenue from warehouses would be lower, at 1 percent).
Most of the revenue would go to wipe out a waiting list for government-subsidized child care, to help middle-income families who don’t otherwise qualify, and to boost pay for child caregivers.
Fifteen percent would go into the city’s general fund.
The catch is Proposition D. It would slap a smaller tax on the same commercial landlords. But it isn’t about child care; it would fund housing and services for the homeless — another hugely important issue.
It’s backed by six members of the Board of Supervisors, including London Breed, who’s also running for mayor.
Between C and D, only the winning measure with the most votes will be enacted.
In another twist, C only needs more than 50 percent of the vote to win, while D needs more than two-thirds.
The other five of the 11 San Francisco supervisors back Proposition C, among them Jane Kim, who’s running for mayor.
People who work with kids, some hotels and even some realty companies also back C. According to the latest reports, a couple of weeks ago, they had thrown in more than $171,000 to boost the measure.
The measure is opposed by big commercial property owners and managers. They had put more than $320,000 into defeating it.
So vote yes on C if you want to tax commercial landlords to fund childcare and early childhood education.
Vote no if you disagree with that tax or would prefer to see it used for homeless services, through a yes vote on Measure D.