San Francisco voters Tuesday gave a solid thumbs-up to Proposition C, which is designed to inject the most money ever directed at city homeless programs by taxing big businesses to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, the measure won 60 percent to 40 percent — a solid majority, but one that might not be big enough to avoid legal entanglements tying up or even eliminating the funding the proposition aims to to raise.
“Homelessness has long been considered San Francisco’s No. 1 problem, driving away tourists and mortifying residents with the daily spectacle of ranting mentally ill people, addled addicts and tent camps. So there was little disagreement at the idea that more funding could help.”
“The heated debate was about how much money that should be, how it would be spent and monitored, and whether dipping a new hand into business pockets would drive away jobs and damage the city’s burgeoning economy.”
“The highest-profile battle over the initiative kicked off when billionaire Benioff and his company pitched in their funding and challenged other business leaders to join them. Jack Dorsey, head of Square and Twitter, fired back on — yes, Twitter — that the tax would be unfair, tamp down growth in the city and wasn’t thought out well enough.”
“Meanwhile, it is probable that the tax will be collected and merely banked — not spent — while the legalities are worked out. That could result in a whopping pot of built-up cash that becomes suddenly available down the line if the challenge takes one or two years.”
So San Fran will have close to a billion dollars in 3 years as the legal challenges sort themselves out to invest in Homelessness.