San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Democratic Party wants Prop I money to go to rent relief, affordable housing

Ed Walsh

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Citing President Joe Biden's speech Wednesday evening, the San Francisco Democratic Party overwhelmingly voted to urge city leaders to fund COVID-19 rent relief and permanently pay for affordable housing with revenue from Prop I, a November 2020 ballot measure to tax the wealthiest real estate transactions.

“This is what Democratic values in action looks like,” said Peter Gallotta, SFDCCC Vice Chair and author of the resolution. “Demanding that the wealthiest in our society give a little more to help those who need it most. Tonight, the San Francisco Democratic Party said loud and clear that as we move forward in our recovery efforts, we need to make sure we help the most vulnerable and allocate the funds that San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported.”

In November, San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston, who represents District 5, the Haight, Fillmore and Western Addition neighborhoods,proposed Proposition I, a ballot measure to double the tax rate on real estate transactions valued at $10 million or more. Opponents spent an estimated $5 million to fight the measure but 58% of San Francisco voters approved Prop I. The proposition went into effect on January 1st, 2021, and has generated more than $32 million.

“Voters delivered a clear mandate,” said Supervisor Preston. “With thousands of renters struggling to pay back rent, and an overwhelming need for permanently affordable housing, Prop I money must go to these critical housing programs as intended. Anything less would be an insult to San Francisco voters, and I want to thank the San Francisco Democratic Party for standing with us.”

“Before the pandemic, we faced a severe shortage of affordable housing options for our teachers and other working families,” said Anabel Ibanez, Political Director of the United Educators of San Francisco and co-author of the SFDCCC resolution. “That need has only become more severe, and now more than ever we need Prop I money to go to creating more affordable housing.”

Opponents or Proposition I say it the measure will prove to be counterproductive.

"The heart and soul of our City - mom and pop businesses - are already facing an impossible situation. They're making incredibly difficult choices about what to do with their spaces, and Proposition I will only give them a heavier burden," opponents stated in their official argument against the proposition.

"Proposition I will also cost us thousands of new housing units, including hundreds of affordable housing units, and hundreds of union construction jobs. These are desperately-needed homes, and Proposition I will make housing more expensive in San Francisco.

"Even worse, Proposition I has no controls on how the money can be spent. City Hall doesn't need more money; it needs to do better with the money it already has. The City's budget has doubled in the last 10 years - while homelessness has skyrocketed and essential services have been cut.

"Proposition I hurts the many neighborhood stores, restaurants, bars, and nail salons who are struggling just to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Stop this effort to raise taxes on struggling small businesses at the most devastating economic time in history."

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