The residents of San Francisco (California) vote on Tuesday on a measure that, if approved, would increase taxes on large companies to increase funds in the fight against poverty, something that has generated clashes among billionaires in the city.
The so-called "Proposition C" would raise sales tax to those companies with headquarters in the city that invoice more than 50 million dollars annually and the tax on personnel expenses to companies with a turnover of more than 1,000 million dollars .
The funds raised would be devoted entirely to the financing of homes and services for the homeless in San Francisco, where the fight against extreme poverty and drug addiction has been placed in recent years among the priorities of neighbors and the City Council.
The most recognizable face behind the "Proposition C" is the charismatic founder and owner of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, with an estimated personal fortune of 6.7 billion dollars and who has allocated around 8 million to promote the vote in favor of the measure.
On the opposite side, two other billionaires from the technology sector, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, and Mark Pincus, founder of the Zynga mobile gaming platform, oppose the proposal, believing it would damage the city's entrepreneurial potential and They have engaged with Benioff on Twitter.
"Proposition C is the most stupid and least thought-out measure that has ever been proposed, please listen to the facts and vote No. Then we will all focus on real solutions for San Francisco," Pincus said this weekend in his account. in the social network.
"Unfortunately, some CEOs are still short-sighted and believe they only have fiduciary duties with their shareholders, with no responsibility for the communities they do business with, yes, on Proposition C!" Benioff wrote for his part.
The two executives devoted several messages to discuss how much their respective companies dedicated to the fight against poverty and Benioff even came to accuse Pincus directly that he "and the other 70 billionaires of San Francisco" have "abandoned the homeless" .
A few days before, the head of Salesforce had a similar encounter with the CEO of Twitter, when he publicly expressed his opposition to the measure and stressed that even the mayor of San Francisco, the Democrat London Breed, has asked for a vote against of "Proposition C".
"I want to help solve the homeless problem in San Francisco and California, I do not think Proposition C is the best way to do it, I support Mayor London Breed in her commitment to deal with this correctly. for this and I trust her, "said Dorsey.
"Hi, Jack, how many anti-poverty programs in our city do you collaborate with? Can you tell me what you and Twitter are involved in and at what financial levels? How much have you donated to the initiative so that no child lives on the street?" Benioff replied.
The mayor justifies her refusal to take the measure alleging that before raising new funds the 300 million that the city is already spent annually in actions to fight extreme poverty should be audited – "Proposition C" would double that amount – and that, judgment of many neighbors, they are not giving the desired results.
San Francisco and its metropolitan area are one of the most prosperous areas in the US, driven mainly by the Silicon Valley technology industry, but it is precisely this economic success that has triggered the demand for housing and consequently prices to create an unprecedented crisis .
According to the newspaper "San Francisco Chronicle", in the city there are currently 7,500 people living on the street, many of them with problems of drug addiction, who concentrate and coexist with tourists in the downtown neighborhoods of Tenderloin, Van Ness / Civic Center and South of Market.