San Francisco has long been thought of as a town a bit too far left of left. As James Hurysz and others remember, it’s had a long history of being liberal, free-flowing, and far less conservative than other locales. However, it’s also been a city of change, being the birthplace of the tech boom as well as the ancestral home of some of the most prolific and influential writers and artists in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, today, San Francisco is leaning so far off track, it has now triggered just as much of a hard reaction by pushing back. James Hurysz reflects on the same view as others on the outside; the city’s government has embraced the idea of non-enforcement to the point that homelessness, drugs, and crime have made the city unlivable for regular people and businesses. And that has pushed businesses to the point of something that is fundamental to American independence: a tax revolt.
The frustration and anger of businesses in San Francisco aren’t restricted just to the City by the Bay, from what James Hurysz sees online. It’s been happening across the country in other locations with a similar attitude towards social leniency. Unfortunately, too much leniency has come with too much of a cost. Businesses are constantly being robbed or vandalized, customers threatened, and sidewalks soiled badly on a daily basis. Yet, when business owners beg the municipality for help and law enforcement, the most liberal cities have taken a “hands-off” approach. As a result, many businesses have gotten to the point where they are closing, leaving, and failing. Those ventures that have survived to date are drawing a line in the sand, refusing to pay any more in business taxes to get their cities’ attention. James Hurysz is not surprised or shocked.
Cities are no different than any other organic development, argues James Hurysz. They thrive best with a balance. Clearly, the zenith of conservatism is a police state run by corporations, and the extreme opposite is what is happening in San Francisco. Neither are healthy or long-lasting. Ideally, a healthy city is one that finds a balance between social liberalism and protecting its business community so that income generation can help long-term growth and support the city’s programs. When, however, municipalities treat their businesses like cash cows, only good for income and no protection at all. Then, at some point, James Hurysz notes even the most giving of companies have a breaking point. That is what is happening in San Francisco with its small business tax revolt.
The sentiments today are no different from those of the colonists during the Boston Tea Party. At a certain point, the colonists under the abuse of England using them as a tax coffer got sick of their treatment. And they pushed back. While no one expects San Francisco to be the start of the next American Revolution, the aspect of government delegitimizing itself still exists. And if those in local government don’t pay attention, they will find their entire system being fundamentally changed again from the ground up. Balance protects all elements, social and business. Protect the balance and everyone grows within limits. Ignore it, and change comes quickly and chaotically.