Mayor Breed signs budget, calls supervisors' raise for workers 'irresponsible'

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: San Francisco Mayor London Breed (C) speaks during a press conference as San Francisco police chief William Scott (L) and San Francisco Department of Public Health director Dr. Grant Colfax (R) look on at San Fra

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Friday she's signed the city's $13.6 billion budget for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 and the $12.4 billion budget for the Fiscal Year 2021-2022.

Breed initially submitted her budget proposal back in July, 
including in it a $120 million divestment from law enforcement put toward the city's African American community, as well as further funding for homelessness, behavioral health, and the COVID-19 response. Breed was also able to avoid laying off city workers, while also balancing a $1.5 billion budget deficit.

Last week, after making several amendments to Breed's budget, the city's Board of Supervisors approved it 10-1, with Supervisor Catherine Stefani voting against it.

One of the amendments included using $59 million from the city's 
November 2020 Proposition F, or the Business Tax Overhaul fund, to provide raises for city workers. Both Breed and Stefani criticized the move as the funds have yet to be approved by voters. 

"This was, without a doubt, the most challenging budget I've ever 
experienced putting together, and I'm proud of everyone who worked on it," Breed said in a statement. "We had to make a lot of hard choices to not fund certain priorities that we all support, but that's part of balancing a budget in a recession.

"More so, the Board of Supervisors failed to make their own hard 
choice when they chose to fund pay raises for city employees. I support our city workers, and it was critical to me that we not lay anyone off during this pandemic where over 200,000 San Francisco residents have already applied for unemployment.

However, giving city workers pay raises at a time when so 
many people are suffering is irresponsible," Breed said.

"These raises are contingent on a ballot measure passing in 
November -- a ballot measure that we were already relying on to help balance the significant general fund deficit we were facing without any raises. If that measure fails, then we will now not only need to find a new way to close our general fund gap, but we will have to find a new way to fund these raises," she said.

Breed further criticized the Board for not coming up with an 
alternative plan if the measure fails.

"Of course, my office has been working on this, and it's not going 
to be easy. It will likely require service cuts and not funding certain 
programs that benefit our residents. That's the reality, and we have to be honest with the public," she said.

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. The newly signed budget also leaves a balance 
of more than $750 million in city reserves.