In November 2018, San Francisco voters will decide whether to tax large businesses in order to help pay for homeless and housing services, a big issue that set off a battle in another West Coast city struggling with income inequality.
The city election department stated that supporters have collected enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot. It’s expected to raise about USD 300 Million per year, doubling what San Francisco spends on the homeless, for more shelter beds and housing for homeless people or the people at risk of becoming so.
The money would come from an average 0.5% tax increase on companies’ revenue above USD 50 Million each year.
Homelessness is a big problem in San Francisco, as well as other cities in the West Coast. There are growing numbers of high-paying tech jobs that price lower-income residents out of a shrinking housing supply.
Christin Evans, a San Francisco small-business owner and one of three petitioners on the measure, states, “I think the city is really ready for this. We have a lot of momentum behind us, and more than a majority of the voting population is renters. We’re polling very well.”
Marc Benioff, Founder and Chief Executive of Salesforce, has advised other tech companies to help with the city’s problems with homelessness. Salesforce has stated that it has given more than USD 4 Million to the homelessness cause and that it is “evaluating the potential ballot measure to carefully assess its merits in addressing this important issue.”
San Francisco voters also approved an increase in the gross receipts tax on commercial buildings and warehouses to fund universal child care.