For the fiscal year starting on July 1, Mayor Lee has proposed that San Francisco's budget increase, mostly on the back of property taxes, by around $700 million to reach $9.6 billion. That's billion with a "B," people.
The Examiner reports that this budget provides for new quality of life improvements like increased library hours and more street cleaning. The paper reminds us that our local budget is proposed in two-year increments, and as such, included in the proposal is a $9.7 billion budget for 2017-2018.
Within the Mayor's proposed budget, more spending is allotted for homelessness — $32 million more than this past year, to be precise, with that money headed to the new Department of Homelessness. That and more funds come from a .75 percent increase in the sales tax, with a half-cent of it going to transportation and a quarter cent of it going to homelessness relief efforts. The .75 percent increase in sales taxes would replace a .5 percent increase in sales tax expiring in December, and relies on the assumption that voters approve the increase. The budget will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, who will make adjustments to it and vote on it.
Meanwhile, at the request of Supervisor Farrell, the city's Budget and Legislative Analyst's Office has released a report detailing the impacts of supportive housing on the total cost to the city of homeless adults. As the Chronicle explains it, the report followed nearly 2,000 homeless adults from 2007 and 2008 who entered into supportive housing in 2010 and 2012, showing what the city spent on them in 2014 and 2015 versus when they initially found housing. First, when they entered housing, costs increased dramatically for them as they availed themselves of medical treatment (a 199 percent increase in the costs of emergency care and an 85 percent increase in the costs of behavioral health services). That was a watershed, however, with costs falling following that initial spike.
“It is incredibly expensive for the city of San Francisco to treat our homeless population on the streets,” Supervisor Farrell concluded. “And, first and foremost for their own health, but also for the financial health of our city, it is in the best interest of everyone to get them in some form of housing or services.”