SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A homeless tax measure which became a battleground between two of San Francisco’s biggest tech titans passed Tuesday night by an overwhelming margin.
According to preliminary results, 124,365 voters, or 59.87 percent of San Francisco voters, agreed to the measure which would levy less than a one percent tax on the city’s largest companies. It was estimated the measure would collecting between $250 to $300 million annually to fund homeless programs.
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From those funds, 50 percent, or about $150 million, would go toward housing and 25 percent, or about $75 million, toward mental health and substance abuse services. The rest of the funds would go toward homelessness prevention and providing more shelter beds.
The measure had become a private crusade for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who spent more than $7 million in an advertising campaign supporting the measure. It also put him in a public battle with Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.
“No matter what I’m continuing my pursuit to help the homeless whether it’s in our children’s hospital, shelters or public schools,” he said at a victory celebration. “I’m continuing everything else for Prop C. We’ve fully exhausted ourselves, but there is no finish line when it comes to the homeless. And we’ll continue our path forward in everything that we’re doing.”
Dorsey remained silent on the outcome on his social media network early Tuesday.
The hotly contested measure aims to alleviate the city’s homeless crisis but was opposed by Mayor London Breed, state Sen. Scott Weiner, and Assemblymember David Chiu.
Although Breed said in a statement last month that “Proposition C sounds appealing,” she argued that its lacks fiscal oversight, although part of its plan requires an oversight committee.
On Wednesday, Breed said San Francisco voters had sent a clear message about homelessness.
“From my very first day in office, my priority has been to help our homeless population get the care and shelter that they need,” she said in a prepared statement. “The voters sent a clear message that they want an increase in funding to help meet this urgent challenge. I agree we need to build more housing and shelters, help those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, and help people to exit homelessness—and business can pay more to make that happen.”
“I have already had conversations with both proponents and opponents of Prop C about coming together to work on this issue as one City, and we can and will do just that.”
The proposition, however, had the support of several other elected officials, including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and San Francisco Supervisors Vallie Brown, Hillary Ronen, Aaron Peskin, Norman Yee, Rafael Mandelman, Sandra Lee Fewer and Jane Kim.
In the months leading up to the election, Dorsey blasted the measure, complaining that his smaller companies, Square and Stripe, “would be taxed at a significantly larger total contribution than much larger companies like Salesforce.”
According to the No on Proposition C campaign, the proposition needed two-thirds voter approval for the funding and is facing pending legal challenges.
“From day one, both sides knew that two-thirds voter support was necessary because of pending litigation from this year’s June primary election,” No on C spokesman Jess Montejano said in a statement. “Proposition C was full of empty promises from the start.”