monopoly_money.jpgSan Francisco’s small businesses are the latest group being offered a payroll tax exemption under a proposal introduced today by the city’s Board of Supervisors.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Supervisors Mark Farrell and David Campos, would allow any business with a payroll under $500,000 to expand its payroll by $250,000 without having to pay the city’s 1.5 percent payroll tax.

The proposal comes after the board last year approved a six-year payroll tax exemption for the microblogging company Twitter and other businesses that moved to certain parts of the city’s Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, and later also excluded stock options from the tax.

Farrell said, “We heard a number of comments from small businesses saying, ‘What about me?'”

Campos said while some people may doubt “if payroll tax breaks actually create jobs … it’s only fair we do this for the small business owners.”

The payroll tax has come under criticism from some city officials, and Farrell said “we’re having a broader discussion about moving from a payroll tax” to a new gross receipts tax.

“But until it’s passed by the voters, it’s all talk, and these small businesses are hurting today,” he said. “This is the first time City Hall is doing anything about it, so it’s about time.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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