clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Benioff pledges millions for homeless tax campaign

New, 15 comments

Proposition C would raise Salesforce’s taxes, but CEO says he doesn't mind

Marc Benioff with a huge pair of sheers cutting a giant blue ribbon outside of Salesforce Tower.
Benioff cuts the ribbon on Salesforce Tower in May.
Jakub Mosur Photography

On Tuesday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced that he and his company would donate millions of dollars to the campaign for Proposition C, an upcoming ballot measure that will raise taxes on the biggest SF businesses—including Salesforce—and put the money toward helping the homeless.

Benioff told the San Francisco Chronicle (whose editorial board opposes the proposition) that he will donate $1 million—half his own money and half through Salesforce—directly to the campaign for Proposition C. He will also spend an additional $1 million on ads encouraging others to back it on the ballot.

“Homelessness is all of our responsibility which is why we are supporting Prop C,” Benioff said via Twitter.

The CEO added, “As SF’s largest employer, we recognize we are part of the solution,” and “homelessness is the top issue in San Francisco where 7,500 peopled 1,200 families live on the street.”

Proposition C would increase gross receipts taxes by 0.5 percent on companies with more than $50 million in revenue.

In September, City Hall’s resident economist Ted Egan estimated that this would boost SF”s homelessness relief funding $250-$300 million per year—about a 78 percent bonus.

Egan also predicted it would result in a 0.1 percent decline in employment growth, as some companies will try to dodge the tax by sending jobs to other cities.

Unsurprisingly, Proposition C’s biggest opposition comes from the SF Chamber of Commerce. Last week, Mayor London Breed also came out against the measure, saying via a Friday statement:

Our homelessness spending has increased dramatically in recent years with no discernible improvement in conditions. Before we double the tax bill overnight, San Franciscans deserve accountability. This is especially true since the Proposition C’s new taxes will decidedly harm our local economy.

[...] We need more housing; we need more mental health beds and services; we need to get better at deploying the resources we have.

But Benioff pushed beyond those concerns Tuesday, telling the Chronicle it’s a simple question of “Are you for the homeless or not for the homeless? For me, it’s binary.”

Benioff has been particularly outspoken about concern for the homeless this year; at the dedication of Salesforce Tower in May, he spent almost as much time talking about the issue as he did talking up the building that bears his company’s imprimatur.