Voting in US elections: San Francisco introduces homelessness – economic tax


In the US election, residents in San Francisco can also choose special legislative proposals. It's about additional taxes for the richest companies to fight homelessness in the city, which has become a big problem. 60 percent of voters voted in favor of the proposal. The plan envisages that companies with annual sales of more than $ 50 million (€ 43 million) will pay around 0.5 percent to homeless people. The initiators hope to collect $ 250 million to $ 300 million annually to finance housing for 5,000 people, as well as psychological care and other assistance.

San Francisco in a UN report on slums

Homeless people have long been part of the landscape of the city of San Francisco, but in recent years the problem has become even greater. "There's always homelessness, but I've never seen it that bad," said Marc Benioff, head of Salesforce software company, who lives in the city for the fourth generation. Even human waste on the streets and sidewalks has become a problem that has made the city now send "dirt patrols" to several places. Conditions have even called on the United Nations to act: they are referred to as "cruel and inhumane" in a recent report that listed San Francisco next to the Mumbai or Delhi slums.

Social contradictions are very striking and prominent, because the crisis occurs at the doorstep of tech giants like Uber or Twitter, whose headquarters in downtown San Francisco are home to many homeless people.

Boom technology has a problem. He has begun a spiral of rising rent and salary prices. One-bedroom apartments now cost an average of $ 3300. This is also because more new companies and companies are moving directly to San Francisco, rather than to nearby Silicon Valley. But even there, there is a shortage of housing, so people who have lost their homes often move to motorhomes which are parked all over the streets in Silicon Valley.

Employers argue about taxes

That's why Salesforce boss Benioff has made a strong case for taxes. He and his company invested around $ 8 million in promoting the initiative. After a massive tax cut by Donald Trump, his company can buy this without problems. However, he is relatively alone with this position. Other entrepreneurs such as Twitter boss Jack Dorsey also openly opposed the program. He also criticized that taxes are not uniform. So it should be between 0.175 and 0.69 percent, higher levels, for example, will take into account financial companies. Dorsey criticized that this could make the second company, the Square payment service provider, ultimately pay more than the much larger Salesforce.

And the mayor of London Breed, who was only elected in the summer, and who truly stated the struggle against homelessness was one of his main tasks, contrary to the proposal. He argues that taxes can push companies out of the city.


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