Mayor's 2014-2016 Proposed Two Year Balanced Budget




MAYOR'S 2014-2016 PROPOSED TWO YEAR BALANCED BUDGET

June 2, 2014

Board of Supervisors Board Chamber, San Francisco

Text of Mayor's 2014-2016 Proposed Balanced Budget Speech


The first time I presented a budget to you, I shared my vision for a San Francisco that was Safe, Solvent, and Successful – a City for the 100%. My vision for our City has not wavered –and the budget that I am presenting today maintains that focus.

Affordability

When I first came into office, the City’s financial outlook was very different than it is today. The unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, revenues were mostly stagnant, and we faced budget deficits of nearly $400 million. We all had to make difficult decisions during these challenging economic times to balance the City’s budget.

I am pleased to say that today with the release of my two-year proposed budget, the City's financial condition has greatly improved. The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.4 percent, the first year budget deficit was under $100 million for the first time in over 6 years, and construction is booming across the City.

However, this economic growth, which no one would have thought possible even a few years ago, has also led to rising prices for homes and other goods and services across the City. I recognize that many San Franciscans are feeling anxious about how to make a living and a life in this great City.

I know that City government has an important role to play in making the lives of everyday people better; and through this budget I believe we are making smart, responsible and targeted investments to ensure that San Francisco is a more affordable and better place to live for everyone.

This year’s budget proposal is the result of hard work and collaboration with all of you.

We met in every district and listened to community leaders, residents and social service providers – both online and in person – to hear directly from them as we developed this two-year budget that reflects all of our San Francisco values.

We also worked with our employees to negotiate contracts with 27 labor unions. I want to thank our labor partners and the city staff involved in negotiating these fair, affordable and responsible contracts that ensure that our employees’ wages keep pace with the cost of living.

So, let’s get to the details. In this budget, you will see:
• Fiscal prudence;
• An increase in services to our residents;
• Critical investments in transportation, education, our social safety net and infrastructure;
• Investments in our diverse neighborhoods; and a
• Historic investments in housing.

Housing

The number one issue I hear about when I am out in the community is the affordability of housing. I believe the success of our City will continue to be based on our commitment to make sure San Francisco remains a place that people from every background and every income level can call home. The shortage of housing affordable to working and low and middle income people has become a genuine crisis and demands solutions.

That is why housing is a central focus in my two year budget. Earlier this year, we set an aggressive goal to complete 30,000 new and rehabilitated homes by 2020, with at least one-third of those permanently affordable to low and moderate income families.

We must continue to build market rate units, especially rental units. The more options for housing our residents have, the less difficult it becomes to find a home. By building in neighborhoods outside of our central City, in the Shipyard or nearby Candlestick, at Parkmerced, or at the old Schlage Lock site in Visitacion Valley we will dramatically expand the number of homes naturally affordable to middle income families.

And this budget includes investments to help make my aggressive goal a reality.

Two years ago, we worked together on the Housing Trust Fund, and as a result of this good work, over the next two years, we will access $48.4 million to produce more affordable housing.

But given the challenges we face, I believe we must do more. In this budget, I am including $50 million in new funding, by leveraging the growth in the Housing Trust Fund, to expedite the construction of hundreds of new affordable housing units over the next two years. These additional funds represent a meaningful infusion to fill gap funding needs on projects and seed new projects throughout San Francisco.

And I believe the success of our City is dependent on our ability to work with each other rather than against each other. In particular, I am encouraging and challenging our private sector partners to continue to work with us to make critical civic investments, including in affordable housing, that make the San Francisco better for everyone.

Our city must continue to develop its spirit of civic engagement. That’s why in this budget I am launching an Office of Strategic Partnerships in the Mayor’s Office to work more deliberately with foundations, non-profits and the private sector to do more good for more people.

In addition to creating more housing for low and middle income residents, I believe making sure our public housing is safe, clean and in good condition for the most vulnerable San Francisco families is one of the best investments we can make. In this budget you will see continued investments in re-envisioning our public housing, building on and expanding the principles of HOPE SF.

But to get tens of thousands of homes built faster, we must to reduce the obstacles that can slow or even stop their construction. That is why in my budget we are increasing staffing at Planning and Building Inspection, to cut through the red tape and get these projects started.

And I am proud of our work with Senator Leno to try to get Ellis Act Reform here in San Francisco. We need the State’s help, but we must continue to do what we can locally to prevent people from being forced out of their homes by speculators. That’s why this budget will include the continuation of funding for eviction prevention and rapid rehousing, as well as the successful right-to-civil-council pilot.

But on our streets, there are still too many people without a place to call home. This budget includes new funding for housing and supportive services for veterans, families, and transitional-age-youth as well as investments in our shelter system, outreach and engagement, and supports that help homeless families and access childcare and jobs.

Services for the Public

In addition to the availability of housing, receiving reliable, quality public service is an important aspect of how San Franciscans feel about living in our great City.

And a large part of this is our public transportation system. I appreciate the work of the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors to include a 10% service increase in the budget over the next two years.

We must also work together to pass a $500 million General Obligation bond for transportation that will invest in our critical transportation system infrastructure and further improve Muni reliability and travel speed, improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and prepare for growth on the City’s busiest travel corridors, all without raising property taxes. Together these investments will help ensure that the City’s transit system is more accessible and reliable.

In addition, building on the progress we made with the Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond, my two-year budget fully funds our City’s street repaving program with $83.5 million in General Fund support, which will allow us to repave 1,700 blocks throughout San Francisco over the next two years.

In fact, I am proud to state that we are fully funding the Capital Plan in the first year of the budget, and including an unprecedented $213 million in General Fund support for smart, responsible capital investments through the City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan over the next two years.

We will also expand services at DPW and our Recreation and Park departments to keep our streets cleaner, maintain our City’s trees and promote public safety throughout our parks.

Protecting the Social Safety Net

As San Francisco’s economy recovers and grows, I believe it’s critical that everyone shares in the success. In the current environment of increasing costs, the City’s lowest paid workers will fall further behind if we do not increase the minimum wage. We will raise the minimum wage for our working families, and we will work together, the San Francisco way to do it!

We will also continue our efforts to be a healthier City.

One thing we agreed on early was that protecting our social safety net is more important than ever. I have rejected all proposed Year One mental health and substance abuse reductions from the Public Health Department. And I have fully restored the $3 million in Federal cuts to programs serving people living with HIV and AIDS.

The rebuild of San Francisco General Hospital – the largest general obligation bond in our City’s history – is well underway, on time and on budget, with an opening date of December 2015.

And the Affordable Care Act has already helped more than 80,000 San Franciscans access health insurance, and about half of those through Medi-Cal. My thanks to our Human Services Agency and our Department of Public Health, which are on the front line of implementing our nation’s health care reform.

This budget also strengthens our City’s primary care services by expanding clinic hours and services and investing in a citywide call center to reduce wait times for medical appointments.

But health and wellbeing are about more than just medical care – that’s why my budget also includes new funding for food security for our residents by adding additional meals for seniors, and will work to enroll more San Franciscans into the CalFresh program.

Families and Education

And if we want our families to stay and grow here, we must strive for the best public schools, anywhere. That’s why this proposed budget includes an unprecedented $137 million in financial support to our San Francisco Unified School District over the next two years.

And because we know that education starts before kindergarten, we are adding 500 Pre-School for All slots, bringing the total number to 4,100.

And this November, we will ask San Francisco voters to renew the Children’s Fund and the Public Education Enrichment Fund. Together these two sources will invest more than $290 million for our children over the next two years.

We are also investing in the future success of San Francisco’s youth, and I am again calling upon employers, large and small, across San Francisco to join us in supporting the future of our young people by creating 7,000 meaningful employment opportunities for our youth this summer and beyond.

Public Safety

San Francisco’s success as a City is also dependent on our ability to deliver valuable services to our residents that make them safer. We developed a Six-Year Police and Fire Staffing Plan to train the next generation of San Francisco first responders, and this budget fully funds these plans to hire 300 new sworn police officers, 96 firefighters, 20 deputy sheriffs, and 10 911 Dispatchers over the next two years. And our police and fire will have the necessary vehicles and radios to help them do their jobs.

We must also think about public safety on our streets. I am also supporting the goals of Vision Zero to eliminate traffic-related deaths in our City with an additional $3 million to address pedestrian and bicycle safety projects over the coming two years.

Nonprofits and Neighborhoods

Small businesses remain the heart and soul of our local economy. This proposed budget includes funding San Francisco’s online Business Portal helping entrepreneurs and innovators cut through bureaucratic red tape and making it easier to start and operate a business.

Sometimes we forget that our City’s non-profits are also a critical part of our economy. I believe that we must do more as a City to support the sector as a whole. So today, I want to affirm that my budget contains a 1.5% cost of doing business increase for non-profits that contract with the City. In addition we will also launch a new sector initiative at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development focused on strengthening our diverse non-profit sector.

This budget also continues my Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative that is creating customized plans in 25 neighborhood commercial districts, providing a Job Squad that brings City Hall to our neighborhood businesses, and expanding free municipal Wi-Fi to our commercial corridors.

While the worst of the economic crisis may be behind us, we cannot deviate from our commitment to fiscal responsibility and ensuring a budget that balances the needs of our diverse communities across the City. We will continue to invest in our neighborhoods, in our infrastructure and most importantly, in our people – the 100%.