San Francisco nearly $14 billion budget was approved by a 10-1 during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, with Supervisor Catherine Stefani voting against it.
When Mayor London Breed submitted her budget proposal in July, it included a $120 million divestment from law enforcement and put toward the city's African American community, as well as further funding for homelessness, behavioral health, and the COVID-19 response. Breed also succeeded in avoiding layoffs to city workers, while also balancing a $1.5 billion budget deficit.
The supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee last month approved the mayor's proposed budget, but made amendments to it, including using $59 million from the city's November 2020 Proposition F, or the Business Tax Overhaul fund, to provide raises for city workers. Breed criticized the move, suggesting the funds, which have yet to be approved by voters, could be needed for other initiatives as uncertainty around COVID-19 lingers.
"The budget as amended is untenable," Stefani said 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. This proposal depends on state and federal (COVID-19) reimbursements, as well as revenue from a tax measure that has not yet passed from the voters. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time. It will continue to increase our expenses, while decreasing our revenue."
Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, said, "For the last couple of months, this board and budget committee has been under tremendous pressure to step up to the challenge of reversing budget cuts, investing in immediate community needs in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, addressing historic racism and responding to the call to put funds for police toward Black community priorities."
She added, "I realize that this budget is not perfect. There are certainly, for every supervisor, items in this budget that we may not agree with, but it is our responsibility to come together."
In addition to the $120 million investment in the African American community, 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, according to Fewer's office.
The amended budget was also able to leave a balance of more than $750 million in city reserves, Fewer's office said.