An update on the 2018 Proposition C Our City Our Home measure
It’s been over a year since the 2018 Proposition C – Our City Our Home – was passed with 62% of voter support. The measure, which taxes the wealthiest corporations in San Francisco with income over $50 million an average of one-half percent, will garner around $300 million for homelessness every year. However, none of the money can be spent as the measure is held up in a hotly contested lawsuit.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, along with the California Business Roundtable and California Properties Business Association, sued the City over Proposition C, arguing that the measure needed a two-thirds majority because the measure institutes new taxes. However, the City Attorney, Dennis Herrera has argued against this, citing the court case, California Cannabis Coalition vs City of Upland which details that if a measure for new taxes is put on by the public citizens and not the City government, said measure only needs a simple majority, or 50% plus one vote. Since this is the case with Prop C – Our City Our Home – the measure should be upheld.
As of now, the measure won in the first court case in the San Francisco Superior Court, but is being challenged by the opposition. The facts of our case are clear. While Prop. C had wide political support from Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein as well as seven Supervisors, it also had opposition from key political leaders like Mayor London Breed and state Senator Scott Weiner. Our City Our Home was crafted by homeless people, the service providers who serve them, and other concerned San Franciscians. Anubis Daughtery, a formerly homeless person said, “I worked on the Prop. C campaign because I thought it would be beneficial for homeless people — I was homeless for six years and thought it would be a good use of my time. Prop. C was different because it came from the Coalition on Homelessness. It didn’t come from a politician. Historically when it comes to homelessness and homeless issues, politicians have adversely affected said issues, and Prop C was better because it came from people who knew better, it came from what homeless people wanted.”
The City this year is planning to restructure the Gross Receipts Tax which was crafted in 2012. There are 7 schedules in which businesses fall into, like retail, finance, and technology. These schedules all have different tax rates and at first, the City was doing guesswork with how to vary each schedule’s tax. In our 2018 Prop C, we added a tax bracket for income over $50 million, which was previously capped at $25 million. It’s unclear as to what the City will propose in November this year, but they could consider adopting the $50 million tax bracket we instituted. As City supervisors and various other officials rework the tax, Prop C funding becomes exposed and vulnerable to city electeds who wish to supplant the money for other causes, or not honor the baseline of $300 million.
To protect Prop C., we at the Coalition on Homelessness alongside the Early Childhood Educators who passed what we affectionately call “baby” Prop. C., a tax to expand childcare services and increase wages for teachers, have been preemptively meeting with City Supervisors to have them sign on to a pledge which states they will not supplant or decrease Prop C funds. We are also Calling on Mayor Breed to sign the pledge. Before this pledge ever reached the desk of an elected official, we had dozens of community groups and individual political activists endorse our pledge, further demonstrating the people power we collectively hold; the same people power that passed Prop C in the first place. Here is the Pledge:
Sign the Our City Our Home Pledge
Not a Penny Less for Homelessness!
We, a Big Tent Coalition of Concerned San Francisco
groups and individuals urge you to sign this pledge:
I. Honor the Voter’s Wishes – Not a Penny Less for Homelessness
II. Nothing About Us Without Us – No deals without Our City Our Home Coalition agreement.
III. Pay for it by taxing big corporations.
IV. Honor the Spending Priorities in OCOH
V. Embrace the Proven Effective Strategies laid out in OCOH
VI. No reduction in the role of oversight body in OCOH
VII. Protect and Preserve the baseline funding for homeless services in OCOH
I Pledge to honor the above principles
This pledge was endorsed by the following organizations:
Affordable Housing Alliance AFT 2121 Bevan Dufty, District 9 Bill Soro Housing Program Causa Justa Just Cause Coalition on Homelessness Community Housing Partnership Council of Community Housing Organizations David Campos, San Francisco Democratic Party Chair Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing Democratic Socialists of America, San Francisco Homelessness Working Group Do No Harm Coalition Haight Ashbury Merchants Association Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club Hospitality House Indivisible SF John Avalos, Former D11 Supervisor Lateefah Simon, District 7 National Union of Healthcare Workers Roma Guy, LGBT and Women's Rights Activist San Francisco Berniecrats San Francisco Labor Council San Francisco Tenants Union Senior and Disability Action St. Anthony's Supportive Housing Providers Network Tenderloin Chinese Rights Association Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) Tenderloin People’s Congress Tom Ammiano, Former California State Assemblymember Treatment on Demand Coalition Western Regional Advocacy Project
Further, the following supervisors have signed on to the pledge: Yee, Fewer, Haney, Mar, Safai, Ronan, and Preston. While we are still meeting with some elected officials, we strongly urge all Supervisors and the Mayor to honor the will of the voters and uphold Prop C as it was written. On Tuesday March 11th, members of the Coalition on Homelessness hand delivered a letter to Mayor Breed urging her to sign onto the pledge. She can do right by the voters of San Francisco and promise to keep the Our City Our Home funding whole. To further emphasize the importance of preserving the Our City Our Home funding, we will be hosting a rally at City Hall on Tuesday March 10th at 12 noon on the steps of City Hall, demanding the pledge be signed by any Supervisors or the Mayor in the event they refused or haven’t signed on. It’s important to recognize the power we have when we come together, and now more than ever, we need to unite to preserve Prop C!