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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

San Francisco's IPO tax is dead! Long live San Francisco's IPO tax!

The backdrop: Voters were to be asked this November to approve a corporate tax increase on stock-based compensation from 0.38% to 1.5%. It would have been retroactive to May 7, just days before Uber went public.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, the measure was delayed for a year, primarily because it might as well have been written in crayon. For example, it wasn't clear if the "IPO tax" was exclusive to companies going public, or to all stock-based compensation.

But the really devilish detail might have been use of proceeds.

  • The original bill earmarked proceeds for affordable housing initiatives, with proponents arguing that newly minted tech millionaires exacerbate an already-acute problem.
  • This meant, per San Francisco rules, that it would have needed two-thirds of voter support to become law.
  • The revised/delayed bill will also allow proceeds to be used for general city purposes, thus lowering the passing threshold to a simple majority.

Expect to see final language within the next few weeks, and then on the 2020 ballot.

Go deeper

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.