SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The move to tax big businesses in San Francisco in an effort to help the city’s growing homeless population is getting a multi-million dollar boost from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Benioff’s company is one of the city’s largest employers. Now, he and Salesforce are becoming a major political force as well.
Benioff is a vocal proponent in support of Proposition C, which aims to reduce homelessness by creating affordable housing and expanding mental health services.
He has spent $8 million in personal and corporate money to help push Prop C into passing; the measure would double the city’s current spending on homeless services.
San Francisco is currently spending around $385 million to alleviate the homeless problem, and Prop C would raise that figure to $685 million–this would equate to spending $1.85 million a day spent on the issue if the measure passes.
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“Just walk down these very streets and you know that in a few blocks, you are going to encounter all kinds of homeless individuals, and it’s the worst it’s ever been–the worst!” said Benioff.
In the days leading up to election day, a last-minute barrage of Salesforce-funded TV ads instantly brought live to the underfunded Homeless Coalition which came up with Prop C.
However, not everyone is happy about Prop C, including San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed.
“Just to be clear: It’s important that big companies making a lot of money in San Francisco pay their fair share. What I’m most concerned about is possibly the unintended consequences–on retail, on manufacturing and other businesses that don’t don’t make multi-billion dollars,” said Breed.
The big boost in funding for the measure provided by Benioff has raised the issue of corporate social responsibility to the public, but his contributions have also put him at odds with his follow tech titans.
“Well, I’d love to hear what their plan is,” said Benioff.
When KPIX 5 asked Breed if she thought Benioff was buying the election, she said, “I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from what you see happening.”
“San Francisco can’t just be the place where everyone comes that needs services,” she added.
In rebuttal, Benioff asserted that his contributions aren’t as major as Breed implies.
“At the end of the day, maybe I gave it a little bit of a push, but I don’t think there is anyway to buy an election in San Francisco. I don’t think you can buy an election in San Francisco,” he said.