Vacant commercial tax (originally submitted by Ray on Civic Participation Project forum)
Berkeley has been considering a fee for owners of vacant commercial properties, with the idea of giving them an incentive to rent out to businesses rather than leave storefronts abandoned. This idea would help stimulate our downtown, as well as generate revenue for the city.
If there is a legal way to do this, it is worth consideration. Perhaps Star Postal would still be here if the landlord faced the alternative of paying fees on vacant spaces.
Coleen Mackin commented
Look at Brisbane Village. Empty storefronts for YEARS! Might be a good "loss" for the owners offsetting profits elsewhere, but it's bad for Brisbane. Some businesses there like the Star Postal were just starting to get off the ground and I heard they got a hefty rent increase. What good is that?!!!
Yes, maybe there should be a tax on vacant spaces.
Tony Verreos commented
I don't know what the U.S. Supreme Court has said on this subject, but decades ago as I watched the uber rich allow property on Market St., S.F., just sit empty, I was sure
as a whole we'd be better off taxing what we want less of.
Currently we tax payroll, income, profits, and lots of what we want more of, but we don't tax the negatives that we want to get rid of. I'd apply this equally to residential
and commercial property (not exactly the same rules), but the idea do not leave your
property going to waste - put it to use.