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San Francisco Supervisor Wants Tax On Uber And Lyft

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Ride-hailing companies could be forced to pay up if one San Francisco supervisor who says he's tired of Uber and Lyft not contributing their fair share gets his way.

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin says the time for complacency toward these companies is over. Peskin is calling state lawmakers complicit and says lobbyists have influenced California for far too long.

"They have legions of lobbyists in Sacramento and San Francisco and there's been no political will to stand up to them," argued Peskin.

On Tuesday Peskin called on state lawmakers to turn the reigns over to cities when it comes to regulating rideshare. Next week he plans to introduce a city ballot measure for November that would allow San Francisco to tax Uber and Lyft.

"It could go toward police enforcement. It could go to street resurfacing. It could go to traffic calming and pedestrian safety that we call Vision Zero. It could go to a whole host of things," said Peskin.

Peskin pointed out that multiple other cities and states have a tax on ride-hailing companies already.

Chicago has a 15 cent tax. Portland taxes 50 cents a ride, while the state of Massachusetts gets 20 cents a ride.

Philadelphia generated $2.6 million for public schools through a 1.4 percent tax.

"The state of California and San Francisco are way behind," said Peskin.

An Uber spokesperson says the company is well-regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. Though the company won't reveal how much it pays to the PUC or what that money is used for. It also still won't reveal how many cars are in San Francisco on a daily basis, something the city attorney sued Uber and Lyft over.

"Uber has been quite difficult to work with," said Peskin.

The supervisor says the tax would not be passed on to the customers. While maintained it's intended to be a tax on the companies, Peskin admitted he can't keep Uber or Lyft from raising their rates.

Peskin will reveal his proposal to tax the companies at next Tuesday's board meeting.

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