SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)
San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday unveiled a proposed city budget that includes investments in the city’s African American community and funding for the city’s continued COVID-19 response.
With a budget of $13.7 billion for the fiscal year 2020-2021 and $12.6 billion for 2021-2022, the two-year budget aims to close a $1.5 billion deficit with the use of reserves, while preserving jobs and making minimal cuts to city services.
Although the city has avoided lay-offs since the pandemic began, Breed said her proposed budget aims to continue that, but it depends on unions for city workers agreeing to delay any planned wage increases for the next two years.
Breed said that so far, talks with police and firefighters’ unions have been successful in agreeing to delay wage increases.
“I’m hoping other unions will agree to do the same. I don’t think this is too much to ask. Our entire city is suffering now and we all need to do our part to share in that sacrifice,” she said. “If the unions don’t agree to delay their raises, then we will be forced to lay people off. We will be forced to cut city services.”
The budget also proposes $120 million be reinvested from law enforcement toward efforts to uplift the city’s African American residents.
“As a Black woman who grew up in poverty in this city, police brutality was all too common. It was something we expected and our complaints were usually ignored. Two months ago, the murder of George Floyd shook this country to this core, in a way that I have never seen before,” she said. “With this budget, we are listening to the community and prioritizing investments in the African American around housing, mental health and wellness, workforce development, economic justice, education, advocacy and accountability.”
Of the $120 million, Breed is proposing at least 60 percent be dedicated toward mental health, and 35 percent be put toward youth development, education and economic opportunities.
Breed’s budget also proposes allocating $446.1 million to the city’s COVID-19 response efforts, with focuses on health services, housing and shelter, and emergency communications.
Of that amount, the budget assumes the city can support $93 million, while the remaining amount can be covered by U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements and funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Breed’s budget also addresses mental health and homelessness, highlighting the city’s Homelessness Recovery Plan, which aims to provide some 6,000 homeless people with continued shelter after they’ve been placed in hotels, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several of the investments in mental health and homelessness rely on $66.5 million over the two years from the Business Tax Reform measure passing during the citywide election in November.
Breed also announced earlier this week, the budget includes $15 million to support San Francisco Unified School District, students and families as the fall semester is set to begin with distance learning.
Once approved by the city’s Budget and Finance Committee and the full Board of Supervisors, Breed is expected to sing the final budget on Oct. 1.
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