SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, March 18, Mayor London Breed and District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney announced that a $125 million budget surplus will be allocated to one-time relief and recovery programs to support small business, arts and culture, youth and families, and vulnerable residents, according to a press release.
The city is expecting the budget surplus of $125 million for this fiscal year. Although the city was expecting a $115 million deficit this year, the real estate transfer taxes accumulated played a big role in creating the surplus.
The allocations of the $125 million are specifically intended to provide support and protection for those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A series of programs and funds have been planned to divide up the surplus money, and will go to the Budget and Appropriations Committee for a vote on March 18, followed by a final vote from the Board of Supervisors, whose voting date has not yet been set.
The created programs and allocations towards each are:
Small Business Grant and Loan Program: $24.8M – This includes funding for loans and grants for small businesses, including $3 million to support entertainment venues; $2.3 million to fully fund the Shared Spaces equity grant program, which helps to fund improvements, barricades, ambassadors and staffing for closed streets, and technical assistance around design and permitting; and $1 million to provide grants to small businesses that have been victims of property crime.
Preventing Cuts to Arts and Culture Programs: $24.1M – This funding will backfill the loss of hotel tax funding that is dedicated for arts and cultural programs. In addition, this includes $1 million in funding to serve as a contingency in the current year if hotel tax collections underperform even further, and an additional $5 million to serve as a down payment for the projected funding gap for next fiscal year.
Waive Business and License Fees: $15M – Funding will go toward implementing legislation passed by Supervisor Catherine Stefani to waive business registration fees for businesses most impacted by the Stay at Home order.
Youth Learning Support: $15M – Funding will support any gaps in the upcoming Summer Together program, as well as other emerging youth learning needs resulting from the school closures.
Deferral of Business and License Fees: $13.2M – This will support the deferral of business registration fee and license payments that were scheduled to be due in May 2021 to November 2021 for businesses with less than $25 million in gross receipts. This will allow nearly 80,000 total business filers to defer their payments.
Rental Relief: $10.05M – Approximately $10 million will supplement State and City rent relief funding to prevent residential evictions for tenants affected by the pandemic and Stay at Home order.
Innovations in Affordable Housing: $10.05M – Approximately $10 million will be made available to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development for the acquisition, rehabilitation, development, and operation of affordable housing projects, including cooperative housing, publicly-funded housing, and innovative housing models not traditionally funded through available State and Federal funds.
Youth Internship Programing: $2.7M – This funding will expand summer internships for San Francisco Unified School District high school students, to provide opportunities for employment in education, in partnership with Opportunities for All.
Family Relief Fund: $2M – This will support a continuation of the Family Relief Fund that was established last spring in the early days of COVID-19 to provide relief to vulnerable and undocumented families who were not eligible for other forms of state and federal financial support. The program was introduced by Supervisor Walton in summer 2020.
Overdose Prevention: $1.6M – Funding will expand on pilot programming at the Department of Public Health for overdose prevention efforts, including $1 million over two years to expand the overdose prevention program in single-room occupancy hotels, and $600,000 to support street outreach-based overdose mitigation.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, San Francisco’s unemployment rate is just below 7%. According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the city saw 45% drop in the number of open small businesses since the pandemic forced shutdowns in March 2020.
“While we are working towards our long-term recovery, we know we need this immediate support that will help get our City back on its feet” Breed stated.