Photo: Jeff Gunn/Flickr
With so many high-level issues on the table this election season, it’s easy to overlook local propositions with the ability to have an extraordinary impact on individual cities. Take, for example, San Francisco’s Proposition W — it will be on the ballot on November 8th, and if passed will increase taxes on real estate sales and transfers over $5 million, generating enough revenue to make the City College of San Francisco completely free for city residents.
For San Francisco’s working-class citizens, many of whom have been displaced by gentrification due to the city’s tech boom, Prop W would be a huge win. It would give a huge number of people the opportunity to improve their skill set, which can be an incredible stretch for single mothers working full time, those too poor to find permanent housing and many more.
When election day rolls around, voters will be asked whether the City of San Francisco should “increase the transfer tax rate for sales of residential and commercial properties from 2 percent to 2.25 percent for sales from $5 million up to $10 million; from 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent for sales from $10 million up to $25 million; and from 2.5 percent to 3 percent for sales of $25 million or more?”
City Controller Ben Rosenfield predicts that the measure could contribute an average of $45 million annually to the cause, the San Francisco Examiner says.
The last time the City College of San Francisco was free was in 1983, and in recent years it’s faced threats of having its accreditation revoked due to financial and administrative problems. Its enrolment has dropped 28 percent since 2012, but thus far it still has approval to keep its doors open.