Our mayors and our supervisors, like broken records, promise again and again to address the issue, but rarely, if ever, is any meaningful action taken.
This is why we voters have placed Proposition C on the November ballot and it’s why we need to make sure that it passes. The “Our City Our Homes” initiative has been endorsed by the San Francisco Democratic Party and progressive politicians like District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim and District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, as well as numerous organizations such as the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.
If passed, Prop C would increase taxes by 0.5 percent on the richest businesses in the city (those making more than $50 million annually), and use the estimated $250-$300 million in revenue to fund services like shelters and treatment for mental health and addiction.
Our streets have received a lot of attention as of late (both locally and nationally) for their poor conditions—the dirtiness, the open drug use, the obvious human misery. Nobody wants to see that. But do we expect the problem just to disappear if we complain about it long enough, or do we need to, you know, actually do something?
Proposition C does something.
Critics of the measure like Mayor London Breed and former supervisor Scott Wiener, say that money alone won’t fix the problem, but without offering another idea that sounds an awful lot like a justification for continuing to do nothing.
No one is suggesting money alone will do the trick. We know a problem as complex and pervasive as homelessness—which is intertwined with addiction, mental illness and our housing crisis—can’t be solved just by throwing cash at it. But it can’t be solved for free either. And the funds that Prop C will generate are a step in the right direction.
Another criticism of Prop C that has been floated is that it will somehow hurt job creation, but a recent study by the city’s Office of Economic Analysis determined that the tax increase would have a “minimal effect” on jobs.
And let us not forget that corporate taxes were slashed only a few months ago by Republicans in congress, who are currently plotting more tax cuts should they remain in power after November. And then of course there was Ed Lee’s infamous 2010 payroll tax break for tech giants like Twitter, which helped kick off this latest round of gentrification in the first place.
Homelessness is a problem that belongs to all San Franciscans, including the very wealthy. Prop C is simply asking that the richest of the rich contribute their fare share.