Debating San Francisco's Community Benefit Districts

There are 12 community benefit districts in San Francisco, which raise their own taxes to create funds for various local projects. But some argue they favor big businesses.

"[S]ince the first district was approved for Union Square in 1999, there have been concerns that those community efforts benefit the business community and not the city as a whole.

While businesses typically try to block attempts by the city to boost taxes or fees that will aid the entire community, they're willing to pay when they get to decide where the money will go, said Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the city's Coalition on Homelessness.

'The choices they make are always in the interest of big business,' she added. 'It's very anti-democratic.'"

Some argue that weighted voting based on the size of businesses allows major business owners to steamroll smaller businesses to create the districts.

Full Story: SF community benefit districts praised, criticized


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.