Déjà Vu? Newsom's Big Announcement: He Wants to Cut Payroll Taxes — Which David Chiu Proposed Two Weeks Ago

The “economic forum” Gavin Newsom needed to attend rather than accompany the mayors of San Jose, San Diego, and Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to stump for federal funds turned out to be this morning's San Francisco Business Times' annual breakfast.

The mayor made nice on the $95-a-head, business-friendly crowd — that's no surprise. He also, according to a breaking blurb in the Examiner, proposed cutting city payroll taxes as an incentive to create local jobs.

Now that is something of a surprise to Newsom's colleagues a few doors down in City Hall. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu submitted legislation to cut payroll taxes two weeks ago, and his proposal came before the Budget and Finance Committee today, just hours after Newsom announced his plan.

Calls to the mayor's press office and spokesman Nathan Ballard were not returned — so we have no idea how closely the two proposals match each other. That being said, Chiu's plan is anticipated to cost the city $5 million in revenue — and so is the mayor's. Hmmm.

The nitty-gritty on Chiu's plan: It would reduce the payroll expense tax rate from 1.5 percent to 1 percent for businesses whose taxable payroll expense hovers between $300,000 and $400,000. It would also increase the small business tax exemption to include everyone whose taxable payroll expense is less than $300K starting with the 2010 tax year. You can read the whole thing here:

Payroll Expense Tax Ordinance.doc

No one in Chiu's office was willing to comment on the similarities or differences of the plans — namely because the mayor's announcement was news to them. That seems odd: Isn't there some kind of carrier pigeon service or pony express or Chiu Signal we could give to the mayor so he can manage to get a hold of the board president?

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