Mayor London Breed introduced the city's highest-ever $14.6 billion budget Wednesday, which despite a $780 million deficit, has big spending increases for police, homelessness, and anti-drug measures.
We learned in December that the City and County of San Francisco is back in deficit times again, and as such, Mayor London Breed ordered across-the-board budget cuts. But those cuts aren’t across-the-board anymore, as the Chronicle reports Breed unveiled her proposed city budget for the next two fiscal years, and it involves hefty increases in the amount of money the city spends on police and public health efforts.
At $14.6 billion, it is the largest San Francisco city budget ever proposed.
Today I announced my proposed budget to strengthening and changing the future of San Francisco— London Breed (@LondonBreed) May 31, 2023
- Creating a clean and safe City
- Restoring Downtown’s economic recovery
- Tackling homelessness, mental health, and addiction. https://t.co/jRMHpE8CLt
“We have closed a significant budget deficit while still focusing on ensuring our City is safe, clean, and vibrant,” Breed said in an announcement of the budget. “Through continued hard work and collaboration across City departments and community partners, we will move San Francisco forward.”
Yes, we have “closed” the budget deficit, as tax revenue has grown, But we have not eliminated that deficit, and the new budget has significant increases for the police department and public health measures.
The SF Police Department is getting a $60 million boost in this proposed budget, which among other things, hopes to add 220 new officers. And the supervisors may balk at that, considering they just handed the department another $25 million in extra overtime money barely two months ago.
The budget does not include more information about Breed’s recently announced plan to arrest people who are high on drugs in public, even though Breed’s office said last week the budget would contain more detail about that pilot program.
The other big spending hikes are on homelessness and drug use. The homelessness budget was raised by 3%, to almost $700 million. There are also increases for substance-abuse treatment programs, though the giant settlements with Walgreens and others in the opioid business will help pay for that.
Breed also proposed a series of tax cuts and breaks to create incentives for businesses in a downtrodden downtown, and to fill retail vacancies.
If you’re a hardcore policy wonk, you can read Breed’s entire 361-page budget online. The SF Board of Supervisors must approve the budget over the course of this summer, and Breed is expected to sign it by August 1.
Image: Mayor London Breed via Youtube