SF Parking Tax Ordinance has Failed


SF Parking Tax Ordinance has Failed

Well, It may be news only to me, but I’m told by my spies in California’s Baghdad by the Bay that their experiment with collecting their parking tax has failed.

The Back Story:

San Francisco did an audit a few years ago and found that somewhere around anywhere between $20 and $50 million a year in parking taxes weren’t being collected. Soooo to solve the problem they decided to require that parking operators have audit-able parking equipment on site and set up a program to audit the garages and get their money.

First — there was the classic snafu of how to ensure the equipment was audit able — they wrote a specification and approved a number of companies. They then sat about requiring the operators to purchase the new equipment.

In the mean time, the local operators banded together and let out a howl you could hear in the other Baghdad. They listed a hundred reasons why this wouldn’t work.

In the meantime, the fellow heading the department retired, the mayor then closed the department, and the local operators notched another spot in their belt. That was it. The program just faded away.

That’s it — business as usual in SF.  My guess is that there are still a lot of taxes not being collected. The operators are crowing that they "won" the day and caused the problem to go away.

My guess is that the law is still on the books, just not being enforced. See that’s the way it is, you can put all the laws you want on the books but if the enforcement arm isn’t funded, then they mean nothing. At least that’s apparently the way it is in San Francisco.

I’m on my way up there to attend the CPPA convention. I’ll speak to a few folks and see what they have to say. Stay Tuned


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John Van Horn

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