SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco voters have had their say approving a new tax on some of the city's biggest businesses with the money going to pay for homeless services.
Everyone agrees that homelessness is one of the city's most, if not the most, pressing issue in San Francisco. Now the voters have approved Prop C and some of the biggest names in the city are still battling it out over what will happen next.
San Francisco voters hit the polls in record numbers and when it came to Prop C the decision was clear: 60% of voters support the tax on some of the city's biggest businesses to help solve the homeless crisis.
Prop C picked up support from Marc Benioff, the Salesforce CEO estimating the tax could cost his company more than $10 million. But, he says it's an opportunity for businesses to contribute to the communities in which they are located.
"That's how I look at this. Prop C is tremendous because it really institutionalizes the need for every company who's gotten so much from San Francisco to give back at this critical time," said Benioff.
San Francisco's Mayor London Breed found herself on the other side of the issue, worried that Prop C could discourage business development and concerned the measure did not include details on oversight.
Breed saying she wants to work on a comprehensive regional strategy and will work for consensus. "My goal is to bring all the stakeholders together, those who were for and against the measure, for the purposes of moving San Francisco forward, because ultimately we all want the same thing," said Breed.
Opponents to Prop C say they also want to see change to help the city's homeless. But, say Prop C is the wrong tool.
They say the money will never reach the homeless. Opponents say new taxes need to be approved by a 66.67% majority, and while Prop C was widely supported it missed that two thirds mark. "The proponents of Prop C never had a plan to get to 2/3," said No on C Spokesperson, Jess Montejano. "If they had a plan for unity that would have brought the whole city together we could realize these resources tomorrow."
Homeless advocates in the city say voter supported ballot initiatives aren't covered by that two thirds rule and say ultimately they will prevail. But, while this case and similar cases filed earlier this year wind their way through the court system those most in need will not be receiving any additional help. "It's probably going to take a couple years before the funds can be released and in the meantime there's going to be more people dying there's going to be more suffering," said Jennifer Friedenbach from the Coalition on Homelessness.
As it stands now the Prop C tax will go into effect with the money being held in what amounts to an escrow account so it could be refunded to those city businesses that contribute if it gets blocked.
No timeline at this point on when that legal matter will be settled.