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AirTalk debates 2018 ballot initiatives: Prop C — business tax to fund homeless services

Andrew Loy begs along a sidewalk in San Francisco, Calif. on June 28, 2016.
Andrew Loy begs along a sidewalk in San Francisco, Calif. on June 28, 2016.
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

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This November, San Francisco voters will be deciding whether or not to pass a tax measure that would fund homeless services.

If Proposition C passes, the measure would authorize the city and county to raise gross receipt taxes by an average of 0.5 percent on businesses with more than $50 million in annual revenue. Companies with more than $1 billion in gross annual receipts would see a 1.5 percent tax increase.

Proponents argue that the initiative could help fix the chronic homelessness that affects San Francisco. Also known as the “Our City, Our Home” initiative, the proposition could potentially raise around up to $300 million annually to finance housing, shelter beds, mental health treatment and homeless-preventative services.

Opponents say that the measure will not solve the homeless crisis, arguing that it lacks accountability and will result in job loss and hurt. According to city economist Ted Egan, the measure could result in a 0.1 percent decline in employment growth as larger companies might decide to transfer jobs elsewhere. Alternatively, the proposition could stimulate the local economy with “increased spending on housing and related services.”

We debate the proposition.


Kevin Fagan, reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle who writes about homeless issues for the paper

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the San Francisco advocacy group Coalition on Homelessness; she tweets @fbach4

Jess Montejano, spokesman for the No on C campaign; former communications director for San Francisco Interim Mayor Mark Farrell; he tweets @JessMontejano