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tax break

Twitter, Other Tech Companies Get S.F. Tax Breaks but Show Little Progress Hiring in Neighborhood

Yoona Ha, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 11 2013 - 1:51pm

The largest of the firms settling in mid-Market signed extensive community agreements, but critics call them toothless

Last year, 14 San Francisco technology companies received $1.9 million in tax breaks for setting up shop in the mid-Market Street area. Supporters said it was a good investment, bringing economic development and jobs to an economically depressed strip in the core of the city. The zone is certainly coming back to life, and the companies that benefited now employ more than 2,700 workers. But it is less clear that the deal resulted in entry-level jobs for residents of the hardscrabble neighborhood — one of the goals most sought by skeptics of the tax break. The largest six of the companies promised a list of community benefits that included an effort to identify qualified job seekers in the Tenderloin and mid-Market area. But the agreements are vaguely worded, the companies have been slow to report their progress to the city, and most were unresponsive to direct questions about employment practices.

This story is part of a special report on workforce development in the San Francisco Public Press fall print edition.

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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