San Francisco mayor to improve housing programs with excess tax revenue
- San Francisco Mayor London Breed has said she wants to use an unexpected property tax windfall to bolster affordable housing and homelessness mitigation programs. The city's controller announced the city has an unexpected $415 million property tax revenue windfall, with approximately $181 million going to the general fund, which can then be allocated.
- Breed did not offer specific allocation amounts but suggested investments in affordable housing, expanding homeless shelter capacity, increasing mental health and substance use programs and creating more immediate housing opportunities for formerly homeless people.
- Breed said she will work with the Board of Supervisors to allocate the extra funding in a way that best meets San Francisco's most pressing needs. A plan is expected early in 2019.
San Francisco's property tax roll has grown 22% in the last two years, and it has had the highest roll growth among all of California's 58 counties over the last three years. Rather ironically, a portion of the windfall is desired to go toward fixing the city's affordable housing crisis, which was brought on at least in part by skyrocketing property values.
Breed has made affordable housing and homelessness mitigation a priority since she first took office this summer. She pledged to build 5,000 transit-accessible housing units each year, add 1,000 new shelter beds and her budget included a one-time pledge of $1 million over the next two fiscal years to support homeless facilities.
Breed opposed the controversial Proposition C, which passed and allows an average half-percent tax increase on all businesses that exceed $50 million in revenue annually. It is expected to raise $300 million each year to support homeless services. The mayor agreed with the idea of helping the homeless but believed the ballot measure had flaws as it was proposed.
Now that Prop C has passed Breed wants to bridge its long-term funding and other current short-term investments with some of the windfall money. She also suggested using a portion to complete a comprehensive performance review of the city's existing homeless programming to most effectively deliver results with the new money. She had wanted the audit finished before voters approved doubling homeless program funding through Prop C.
Breed wisely emphasized that this rare excess revenue needs to be viewed as a one-time funding infusion and not a phenomenon that the city can count on in future years.
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