The supes pretty much gave Mayor Breed what she wanted in a near-unanimous vote on Tuesday, the only difference being that the Board dips into the city's rainy-day fund to give city employees raises.
By law, the city of San Francisco is required to pass a balanced budget every year. That is, of course, quite difficult in the COVID-19 economic disaster. When Mayor Breed proposed her budget in July (and she told you all about it in a Medium post), her means of pruning down the deficit was to significantly defund the Sheriff’s Department, and to deny city workers raises.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors passed a $14 billion budget according to the Chronicle, one that’s similar to Breed’s but with a notable difference — the board version does give city workers raises, by lifting about $60 million from the city’s general fund. The Board passed their proposed version of the budget by a 10-1 vote, with only District 2 supervisor Catherine Stefani dissenting, and it may or may not portend a coming political fight. Breed told the Chronicle in August that “I cannot support the Board's decision to appropriate additional funds from our reserves.”
KPIX has the details of the Board’s version, which also includes Breed’s proposed trimming of $120 million-ish from the sheriff’s department and directing it towards investments in the African American community. Per KPIX, “other investments in the budget include $60 million for Mental Health SF; $14.7 million for the city’s continued COVID-19 response; $17.3 million for housing subsidies for seniors and homeless families; $10.7 million to expand the Right to Counsel program; $5.3 million for the new Community Learning Hubs intended to help some 6,000 students with distance learning; and $2 million for food security initiatives for families impacted by COVID-19.”
Both Breed and the Board’s budgets pin their hopes on the assumption that SF voters will approve the Prop F business tax in November (KALW explains that here). It also assumes more federal COVID-19 funds that Congress has not yet approved and is clearly in no hurry to do so, and some degree of optimistic COVID-19 economic recovery.
But the raises for city workers, against Breed’s wishes, may be the sticking point. “The budget as amended is untenable,” KPIX quotes Stefani as saying during Tuesday’s meeting. “This proposal drains down our reserves and fails to provide enough support for those who need it most: our small business community and our more than 200,000 newly unemployed neighbors.”
“I've wrestled with that too,” Supervisor Peskin said in retort, per the Chron. But “if there was ever a rainy day, it’s pouring cats and dogs right now.”
The Board’s $14 billion budget now goes back to Mayor Breed, who has until October 1 to sign it or reject it. For comparison purposes, last year’s budget was $12.3 billion.
Image: Cabe6403 via Wikimedia Commons