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San Francisco community organizations rally to call out potential budget cuts

On the steps of San Francisco City Hall Wednesday, a coalition of youth service organizations, immigrant support groups and LGBTQ youth support groups came together to call on the city to not cut their programs.

The groups said their services are vital to making the city a safe, vibrant and diverse place and should not be on the chopping block as the city tries to balance its strained budget. In fact, they said investing in their programs will prevent bigger costs later.

“We’re gonna wait until someone’s on the street and try to get them care. We’re gonna wait until a violent crime happens and then try to clean it up,” said Amy Anderson with Horizons at San Francisco Friends School. “Let’s try to get ahead of those things by trying to investing in where it can have an impact and prevent those things from happening in the first place.”

San Francisco runs on a two-year budget cycle. According to San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s office, the city is facing a $789.3 million shortfall over those two years.

The mayor’s office is currently working on a proposed budget which needs to be handed over to the board of supervisors by Jun. 1.

Part of the problem is that San Francisco’s downtown office core is still about 36.6% empty. That means the city is missing a significant source of property tax revenue.

The vacancy rate also affects other revenue sources including business and sales taxes.

The budgeting process is still in progress but the mayor’s office has already asked all departments to cut their budgets by 10%. For some of the organizations, that could mean a lot of money.

Wednesday’s rally comes ahead of a hearing at San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors about the city’s department of children, youth and their families.

The agency said it’s facing a drop off in money for grants. and some organizations funded through DCYF said they could see budgets cut by 40% or more.

“We’ve done our own internal analysis and when we look at the trend, where our organizations and our communities are getting cut systematically across departments in the 60 percentile, we want to really address that,” said Ani Rivera with San Francisco Parity and Equity Coalition.

These community members said the budget shouldn’t be balanced on their backs.

After the Board of Supervisors gets the mayor’s budget Jun. 1, they will spend the rest of the month deciding where those cuts should come from.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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