Mayor London Breed Releases Balanced Budget that Delivers Key City Priorities to Move San Francisco Forward

Budget closes major deficit while building on recent progress with critical investments in core government operations, public safety, homelessness, children and families, and economic revitalization
May 31, 2024

 San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today released her proposed City budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2024-2025 and 2025-2026. The annual $15.9 billion for FY 2024-25 and $15.5 billion for FY 2025-26 continues to prioritize and deliver investments for San Francisco’s residents, workers and visitors, while closing a significant deficit. While the two-year proposed budget has an overall increase caused by large enterprise departments and their capital projects, the City’s general fund remains generally flat.

Despite post-pandemic challenges, San Francisco has made significant progress to deliver a clean and safe City, move people off the street and into shelter and housing, advance economic revitalization efforts, support workers and families, and create opportunities to further San Francisco as a global destination and leader in innovation. The Mayor’s proposed budget will build on this progress, while making the tough budget decisions to deliver a balanced budget in the face of a $789 million two-year deficit.  

Key Priorities funded in the Mayor’s proposal include: 

  • Building on improvements in public safety by expanding law enforcement staffing and delivering new technology 
  • Investing in economic revitalization efforts Downtown and in neighborhoods 
  • Helping people off the street and into shelter with a focus on a recent rise in family homelessness
  • Delivering treatment options for those struggling with addiction and reducing overdoses
  • Expanding landmark early education and childcare policies to support more families
  • Maintaining rainy day reserves for future needs
  • Building on government operations reform work to increase accountability 

“San Francisco is making real progress to improve our city and this budget will help us to build on that momentum,” said Mayor London Breed. “San Francisco is cleaner, safer, and more energetic than at any time since the pandemic started, but we have a lot of work to do to keep moving forward. In this budget, we made the tough decisions to close our deficit and those are never easy, but we also made the right decision to invest in critical city services our residents expect and deserve.” 

Key Takeaways from the Budget: 

Building on Improvements in Public Safety 

San Francisco is seeing its lowest crime rates in a decade after significant investments and expanded coordination to improve public safety. Mayor Breed's proposed budget builds on the success these efforts have played in making San Francisco a safer, more vibrant space, and fully funds public safety departments. 

The proposal expands investments in public safety departments that include increasing staffing in law enforcement, deploying newly approved technologies and tools to modernize San Francisco’s public safety resources, maintaining the City’s multi-agency drug market enforcement effort, and continuing to build on alternatives to traditional policing to support public safety.  

Investing in Economic Revitalization Across the City 

The Mayor’s budget will drive economic revitalization by investing in strategies laid out in the Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future. This includes maintaining investments in neighborhood corridors through key programs like First Year Free, which waives city fees for new businesses. The budget proposes continues and expands deployment of Public Works cleaning crews and contractors who power wash sidewalks, remove litter, and sweep gutters and provide courtesy graffiti removal for storefronts and other private property in neighborhood corridors. 

A continued focus on Downtown revitalization includes investing in the Mayor’s 30 by 30 initiative to bring 30,000 residents and students Downtown by 2030 and investing in new strategies to attract people and business to Union Square and Yerba Buena as key visitor destinations. The Mayor is proposing to use grants and direct support to fill 100 new storefronts, in downtown and across neighborhoods.  

Helping People Off the Street and Addressing Rise in Family Homelessness 

San Francisco has invested in getting people off the street by expanding shelter and housing, increasing outreach, and investing in prevention programs to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place. By expanding housing slots by 50% and shelter beds by 66% since 2018, San Francisco’s street homeless population is at its lowest level in 10 years.  

The Mayor’s budget proposes maintaining funding for these expansions and continues to add new shelter and housing under the City’s Home by the Bay 5-year homelessness plan, while continuing to invest in street outreach and prevention programs to keep people from falling into homelessness, including fully funding Tenants Right to Counsel. Mayor Breed proposes fully funding the City’s encampment teams that are on pace this year to conduct significantly more encampment operations than previous years.  

These improvements in reducing the number of people living on the streets are balanced by a significant increase in homeless families, including those who are coming to San Francisco without access to housing. Most of these families are living in vehicles. To cut the family shelter waitlist and bring families indoors, the Mayor proposes the budget fund her Safer Families initiative, which adds new emergency hotel shelter and rapid rehousing slots for homeless families. 

Delivering Treatment and Reducing Overdoses 

San Francisco continues to expand outreach and treatment in the face of elevated overdose rates. While the number of overdoses has decreased slightly to start 2024, overdose rates remain near record highs set last year. In 2023, approximately 25,000 people accessed mental health and/or substance use treatment through the San Francisco Health Network. Approximately 5,000 people received medication treatment for opioid addiction, either buprenorphine or methadone (also known as medication assisted treatment). The City’s residential system of care consists of approximately 2,550 residential care and treatment beds including voluntary and locked residential treatment and recovery housing.  

The Mayor's proposed budget continues funding of these programs, including substance use programs focused on treatment and recovery. This includes $45 million of opioid settlement funding for existing and expanded high-impact services, including program expansion to reduce racial disparities in overdose deaths in the Black/African American community, expansion for access to Buprenorphine treatment to 24/7 through telehealth prescription program, post-overdose follow-ups with Buprenorphine treatment, and Tenderloin “night navigators” that do outreach at night to bring people into treatment.  

Expanding Support for Early Care and Education for Families  

San Francisco continues to build on its groundbreaking initiatives to support childcare and early education efforts. Mayor Breed proposes the budget continues to fund programs aimed at recruiting and retaining early educators and improving childcare facilities. These programs are financed by the Commercial Rent Tax, approved by voters in June 2018, which is dedicated to supporting early childcare programs in San Francisco.  

As part of these investments, in the last five years, San Francisco has doubled the number of children receiving early care and education subsidies annually. To build on this progress, the Mayor’s budget proposes to expand eligibility for early learning childcare vouchers to include more middle-income families, those earning 150% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is $224,800 per year for a family of four. In total, more than 25,000 San Franciscan families with infants, toddlers, or preschoolers under six years old will be eligible for crucial early care and education financial support.

This investment will also pilot an after-hour care support model that extends childcare facility hours in the evenings and on weekends, benefitting parents with late or irregular shifts, including frontline workers.   

Investing in the City’s Workforce 

The greatest investment in the Mayor’s proposed budget is in the City’s workforce of over 30,000 employees. She proposes the budget funds newly negotiated Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the City’s over 30 miscellaneous unions. All new agreements provide a wage increase of at least 13% over three years. Along with the general wage increase, the Mayor’s proposed budget funds additional specific contract provisions across different unions, including the guarantee that every city worker will earn a minimum of $25 per hour. These increased investments accompany an overall decrease in the City’s vacancy rate, down to 8.4% in May 2024 from 11.6% in July 2023. 

Maintaining Rainy Day Reserves 

Despite the tough decisions made to close the deficit, the Mayor is maintaining over $860 million in reserves, including nearly $390 million in the City’s Economic Stabilization Reserves (sometimes referred to as “Rainy Day” reserves) and another $470 million in other General Fund reserves.  

Good Government: Hiring, Contracting and Accountability  

In Mayor Breed’s previous budgets, she created the Government Operations Recovery initiative, a citywide effort focused on improvements to hiring, contracting, and other City processes that support the efficient and timely delivery of City services. These efforts have led to a 50% increase in applicants for vacant City positions, more than 25% increase in hires made, 25% decrease in time to fill vacant positions, and nearly 30% decrease in the vacancy rate.  

This proposed budget continues that work and expands also expands the scope of the Controller’s Nonprofit Monitoring and Capacity Building program, which will roll out new policies for performance, oversight, reporting, and monitoring for non-profit contracts in the coming year.   

Closing the Deficit 

The Mayor's proposed budget closes the deficit by reducing expenses, increasing uses from alternative revenue sources, and eliminating outstanding balances in non-critical or completed projects. Cuts were made by holding non-critical positions vacant across departments, limiting the addition of new positions to core services, reducing contract spending, including in grant-making portfolios across multiple departments, and funding new capital and IT projects at reduced levels from recommended Capital and IT Plan amounts. 

The budget Mayor Breed has proposed now heads to the Board of Supervisors for review. Over the next month, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Appropriations Committee will hold hearings and review the City’s two-year budget, before ultimately forwarding it to the full Board for approval. The deadline for the Mayor to sign the fully approved budget is August 1, 2024. 

For a full description of Mayor Breed’s proposed two-year budget, please visit this page to find the Budget Executive Summary.