The $1.9 trillion “COVID relief” bill proposed by President Joe Biden and approved by Democrats in Congress “will erase the majority of San Francisco’s projected $650 million budget deficit over the next two years,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Chronicle reported Tuesday that “S.F’s budget will be saved from painful cuts thanks to federal stimulus”:
The state and local aid is part of a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package that will also provide money for public transit, vaccine distribution, extended unemployment benefits and $1,400 stimulus checks for those who make $75,000 or less. The U.S. House of Representatives, lead by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, plans to hold a final vote Wednesday. Then, it will head to President Biden’s desk for a signature.
If passed, the stimulus package will inject about $600 million into San Francisco’s coffers over the next two years, Rosenfield said. That leaves Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors with a $50 million hole to fill, a fraction of what they were preparing to deal with.
“We still have a problem,” said Jeff Cretan, spokesman for the mayor. “We just don’t have a problem right now.”
Ironically, the city reported a $125 million surplus this year, but faced a deficit over the medium term.
San Francisco was already losing residents when the coronavirus pandemic hit, thanks to the rising cost of housing and increases in petty crime and homelessness. But migration from the area increased 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans have described the COVID-19 relief bill as a “blue state bailout,” with much of the funding unrelated to the pandemic.
The New York Times reported this week that the bill allocates $86 billion for failing pension funds: “Tucked inside the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that cleared the Senate on Saturday is an $86 billion aid package that has nothing to do with the pandemic.” There are no conditions attached to the pension bailouts that require reforms in how these ailing pension systems are run.
Moreover, as the Wall Street Journal noted Wednesday, while the language of the bill prevents states from depositing aid directly into state pension funds, the funds are “fungible” in ways that allow states to bail out their pensions.