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NEWS: Campaign to Tax Amazon Submits 20,000 Signatures to Qualify for November Ballot

July 11, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – On the heels of the California primary election, Build Affordable Faster (BAF) submitted 20,000 signatures — dramatically surpassing the 9,000 requirement — to the City of San Francisco to qualify the E-Commerce Equity Tax for the November ballot.


The ballot measure would finally deliver equity to residents of San Francisco by taxing massive corporations like Amazon, which have skated by for far too long without paying their fair share. Since the start of the pandemic, E-Commerce juggernaut Amazon – a company that avoided $5.2 billion in corporate federal income taxes last year, despite reporting record profits – has put countless mom and pop shops out of business.


This rapid increase in wealth inequality amidst the loss of so many businesses that are at the heart and soul of the city has resulted in broad support for the ballot measure: more than 70 percent of San Franciscans are in favor of the proposal, according to a January 2022 poll by David Binder Research.


"What's been most significant is being able to afford having my son live with me full time in the city which has been unattainable for years,” said artist and writer Kevin Dublin, who is a recipient of San Francisco’s guaranteed income pilot program. “Establishing a permanent guaranteed income program would be transformative for individuals, families, our communities, and the entire city."


"The pandemic has left too many of us in even more dire financial straits than before. Now more than ever, safety net programs like Guaranteed Income are critical to keeping San Franciscans housed and fed," says Michael Tubbs, Founder of End Poverty in California (EPIC). "It's time for big box corporations to chip in. San Francisco has the opportunity to make history again and become the first city with an income floor for her residents."


Currently, online mega-stores, such as Amazon and other E-commerce giants, pay the same gross receipts tax as local small businesses and neighborhood retailers. The ballot measure would level the playing field by establishing an E-Commerce Equity Tax which would raise the gross receipts tax of these large-scale enterprises to match the amount paid by all other warehouse-based businesses. The tax would generate an estimated $15 - $25 million dollars every year to permanently fund San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income program.


“COVID has exposed and exacerbated so many of the problems already plaguing our region,” said Faith in Action Coordinator Brenda Cardova. Too many small businesses have to compete against monopolies that rig the system. Too many parents are wondering how they’ll pay the rent next month. Too many working people are unable to find dignified and affordable housing, The ballot measure is about equity. It’s about making companies who built their success on the backs of workers finally pay up. San Franciscans will no longer tolerate Amazon raking in billions while our people go hungry.”


Years of skyrocketing rent compounded by the economic impacts of COVID-19 have left small businesses and low-income San Franciscans alike struggling to remain afloat in the Bay Area, with nearly 50% of local store owners closing shop and hundreds of residents on the brink of eviction.


“People were signing petitions faster than we could print them,” said Bobbi Lopez, Political Director for BAF. “San Franciscans understand the rampant inequity in our city has only been made worse by massive corporations funneling money to the top 1% – instead of restoring social services and programs that make life better for the rest of us. Twenty thousand signatures don’t lie: come November, we will win.”