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Tax break keeps Twitter in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, April 6, 2011 (AFP) – San Francisco leaders on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to legislation that would keep fast-growing Twitter in the city with the lure of a payroll tax break.

The bill squarely aimed at keeping the hip microblogging service from moving out of town was portrayed as a way to revitalize a pair of chronically downtrodden neighborhoods in the heart of San Francisco.

Companies in what are referred to locally as the Mid Market Street and Tenderloin areas would not have to pay any payroll tax on new hires for the first six years.

Twitter is undergoing a major growth spurt, with new hires coming on board weekly.

Twitter had talked of moving to another northern California city with no payroll tax, but promised it would settle into a vacant Market Street building if the measure was approved.

City officials hope Twitter will spark an economic revival in the area by attracting other companies.

“There is great synergy between Twitter and the arts organizations and small retail businesses who are looking to expand in the area,” San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said in a release.

“This six-year payroll tax exclusion for new jobs created on Central Market Street and in the Tenderloin Area will create new jobs, generate revenue for the City and has the potential to create a new innovation cluster on Central Market.”

San Francisco board of supervisors must vote a second time on the bill before Lee can sign it into law. The second vote is expected to take place next week.

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