Will This Fall’s Half-Billion Transit Bond Allow Your Landlord to Raise Your Rent, Costing You Thousands? – “Pass-Throughs”

I don’t know.

But check this out:

“Ordinance calling and providing for a special election to be held in the City and County of San Francisco on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, for the purpose of submitting to San Francisco voters a proposition to incur the following bonded debt of the City and County: $500,000,000 to finance the construction, acquisition, and improvement of certain transportation and transit related improvements, and related costs necessary or convenient for the foregoing purposes; authorizing landlords to pass-through 50% of  the resulting property tax increase to residential tenants under Administrative Code Chapter 37…”

All right kids – you do the math. Start with $850,000,000 and divide that up among the denizens of the 415 / 628.

I don’t know how to do that but when I tried, I came up with a $30 a month rent increase for you, Gentle Reader, for the next 7-10 years.

Would the average landlord take the trouble to do a pass-through? IDK. I’m thinking the typical rent-controlled renter in SF doesn’t have to deal with pass-throughs currently. But maybe this big old honking bond would be the trigger for a wave of passthroughs?

Here’s what former SFGov employee Howard Wong has to say:

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The SFMTA wants more money, certainly. But the question is what will the SFMTA do for us in order to get the money, right? Otherwise, we’re just shoveling more coal into a broken-down machine. Why not use the bond as a carrot to get the SFMTA to reform?

Perhaps our SFMTA doesn’t deserve this bond?

Anyway, if I were promoting this bond, I’d figure out what the odds are that landlords would pass through 50% of the burden and also how much rents would be increased, on average, and for how long. And then I’d say, well this is what the SFMTA is going to do with your money and this is how much it will cost you, the renter, or you, the owner.

Is this massive transit bond a good idea?

I don’t know.

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