The mayor sets aside $446 million for coronavirus relief and services, but that’s contingent on no “second surge” of infections, and full reimbursement that the federal government has promised.
Today is London Breed’s birthday, and it will not be much of a party. But she’s also imagining where we’ll be in the future, as KPIX reports Breed is setting aside $446 million to fight coronavirus in the San Francisco budget she’s been releasing in bits over the last couple of weeks.
According to the Chronicle’s breakdown of the $446 million, a lion’s share of $353 million is expected to come in the form of theoretical reimbursements from FEMA, the state of California, and the federal government. There’s no guarantee that money is coming through! “You all know how uncertain the federal government has been, unfortunately,” she said in the address above.
But it has been promised, leaving the City on the hook for a mere $93 million of the proposed sum. As the Chron also notes, this is essentially creating an entire new city department, with basically the same-sized budget as the San Francisco Fire Department.
“We are going to be living with this for some time,” Breed said in her latest video address, seen above. “That's money that I wish we could divert to other things, but unfortunately this is the reality of today. And I hope that's not the reality of our next budget cycle.”
The money is mostly slotted to address the local economic consequences of COVID-19, rather than the cases themselves. While $185 million is set aside for direct healthcare, another $185 million is allocated to housing, while $62 million goes to food expenses, and $16.5 million more for emergency operations. Moreover, the budget assumes that cases will decrease over time, with no so-called second surge. "It's important to remember that this funding really assumes we don't see any major surges," she added.
We should stress Breed’s budget is merely a proposal, and it still must be passed by the Board of Supervisors. Given the labor unions and some Supes’ reactions to Breed’s previous budget announcements, these reassuring proclamations may prove contentious and difficult to pass.