San Francisco to vote on new tax on big businesses to help homeless

San Francisco to vote on new tax on big businesses to help homeless
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San Francisco residents will vote this November on whether the city should increase taxes on large businesses to pay for the homeless and housing services, according to the Associated Press. 

The news outlet reported that the city elections department verified on Monday that supporters of the measure had collected the required amount of signatures to place it on the ballot. 

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If passed, the measure would raise more than $300 million annually for housing and shelter beds for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. Up to half of the money would go towards permanent housing, and about a quarter would go towards mental health services. 

The AP notes that the $300 million figure doubles how much San Francisco currently spends on its homeless population. 

The funds would be generated from an average half-percent tax increase on companies’ revenue above $50 million each year, according to AP. 

“I think the city is really ready for this,” Christin Evans, a San Francisco small-business owner and one of three petitioners on the measure, told AP. “We have a lot of momentum behind us, and more than a majority of the voting population is renters. We’re polling very well.”

The AP reports that it remains unclear which businesses would be impacted by this policy if it passed. Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, told the news outlet that about 1,000 businesses in the city make more than $50 million per year. 

Companies such as Twitter, Uber, Google and Apple could be affected. 

AP notes that the Mountain View, Calif., City Council also placed a measure on the November ballot asking voters to authorize a tax on Google and other companies with employees in the city.