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City gave up $3.5 million in community benefits before passing Twitter tax deal

Nina Frazier, SF Public Press — Jun 7 2011 - 12:17pm

The April tax break for social media giant Twitter was supposed to include sweeteners to help community organizations, small businesses and the arts in the blighted mid-Market neighborhood. But just before the Board of Supervisors approved a tax exemption, which is projected to save Twitter $70 million, it abandoned a draft community benefits agreement worth at least $3.5 million, plus 1 percent of the company’s pre-tax income and myriad other community service projects. These included improvements to public parks, the opening of a neighborhood grocery store, a local hiring provision and free Wi-Fi for neighbors, the Public Press has learned. The board now has a chance to retroactively approve a committee to come up with such an agreement, but neighborhood activists say the city is in a worse bargaining position now that Twitter has its tax break.

 
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