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SF's tech entrepreneurs promote a smarter city

A video featuring Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and other local talent offers suggestions for how technology could improve services in San Francisco.

San Francisco's governing digerati and politicians like to think of the City by the Bay as the innovation capital of the world and the capital of Silicon Valley (see "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee banks on tech startups").

The video above, titled "This is How Technology Will Create a Smarter San Francisco," promotes the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation (sf.citi), a nonprofit that has the support of more than 330 local companies.

Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square, Biz Stone of Twitter and Obvious, Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman, and Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky offer suggestions for how technology could improve services in San Francisco. Among the suggestions for the city are visual displays in bus stops to give people in transit real-time information about buses, trains, taxis, ferries, and subways; Twitter-enabled crime reporting tools; old phone booths converted into Wi-Fi hot spots; and apps to allow drivers to pay for parking spots.

sf.citi already announced SMARTmuni (System Management Administered in Real Time), an iPad app that gives public transit users access to real-time transit data.

The video ends with an advertisement for Proposition E, a bill up for vote in the November election that proposes to reduce the payroll tax paid by San Francisco firms and replace it with a tax based on gross receipt sales.

"The biggest gift the tech community today can give San Francisco is passing Proposition E to create jobs in San Francisco and small business," angel investor Ron Conway said last month at a tech industry event. Conway is also chairman of sf.citi.

Currently San Francisco businesses pay a flat 1.5 percent tax on payroll costs, with the exception of small businesses with less than $250,000 in payroll. The Proposition E tax rate would be 0.075-percent to 0.650-percent of gross receipts, with businesses earning less than $1 million in annual revenue exempt from the tax. Businesses with offices in San Francisco but headquarters outside of the city would pay the gross receipts tax based on payroll costs, which is about 1.4 percent.