There is no arguing that San Francisco has a severe housing problem. Walk on any street and you see it. But there is a measure on our June ballot that will help solve the problem at hand – Proposition D, Affordable Housing for All. And while Prop D will increase business taxes for those in the tech industry and beyond, I as the Executive Director of San Francisco’s leading technology advocacy organization, sf.citi, am writing to tell you why we endorse Prop D.
At the end of 2017, we at sf.citi asked our member companies to tell us what our policy priorities should be for the coming year. Unequivocally, we were told that our priorities must include more affordable housing, solutions to the homelessness crisis, and strengthened transportation in San Francisco.
Fast forward to today, and housing – or the lack of affordable options in our 7x7 city – has been a huge part of the dialogue about what ails San Francisco. The three leading mayoral candidates have all announced comprehensive plans for solving homelessness, which include aggressive measures to promote more affordable housing. State Senator Scott Wiener introduced SB 827, a bill that would have increased residential building near transit, before it failed in committee. On our part, housing has been a subject our member companies have pressed on all the mayoral and supervisorial candidates, as well as elected officials, who have participated in our Lunch & Learn conversation series.
These conversations and announcements have led us to a number of conclusions. First, the priorities of our member companies are guided by their tens of thousands of employees who live right here in our community and very closely mirror those of the city at large. Second, it is time for bold action in a city where more housing of all types is desperately needed.
For this reason, sf.citi is proud to endorse Prop D, Affordable Housing for All.
Of the two dueling gross receipt tax measures, Prop D will have the most profound impact. The measure promises to generate $1 billion for more housing over the next ten years, ultimately leading to new opportunities for 28,000 San Franciscans. While it comes at the lower cost of the two competing tax measures, this comprehensive housing and homelessness plan includes funding for middle-income housing, SROs, rental subsidies for seniors, supportive housing, and Navigation Centers, in addition to providing protection for rent-controlled housing and long-term tenants through the Small Sites Acquisition Program. Prop D is supported by a number of elected officials, community leaders, and organizations, and was endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. Now, sf.citi is proudly joining the chorus of support for the measure as the largest trade association of our kind to do so. And to be clear, this means that our industry is saying ‘yes, we are willing to pay more in taxes to build housing here in San Francisco.’
Here at sf.citi, we pride ourselves in being the glue that connects our technology sector to the community. We take this responsibility to heart when evaluating the many measures San Franciscans have been asked to decide on June 5th. Fundamentally, we as a community cannot afford to support initiatives like universal childcare if we are failing at housing families and individuals first. This worsening crisis can and must be tackled as our first priority as business taxpayers and San Franciscans. Our members know this, and that is why we as an industry are now endorsing this tax increase to fund Prop D.
We reject the narrative so many want to believe about tech and our workers not caring about our city – the tech industry and its workers are invested in seeing all of San Francisco thrive and we are proud to use our voices and our wallets to make this happen. This solution will not be easy nor inexpensive, but we must come together to take advantage of this historic opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many San Franciscans. Our industry has worked hard to make San Francisco the world’s capital of innovation through unprecedented job growth and employment. Now, it is our turn to support the city that has done so much for us, and we hope you will too, by voting Yes on Prop D.
Jennifer Stojkovic is the Executive Director of sf.citi, San Francisco’s leading advocacy organization for the technology sector.
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