SF Lawmaker Pitches Pay Cuts for Top Officials to Ease Budget Woes

Zhe Wu/San Francisco Public Press

San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan during a video press conference proposed that she and others at the highest levels of government take 10% pay cuts to help fund essential services.

A San Francisco lawmaker is proposing that she and other top officials, including the mayor, take pay cuts to ease the city’s budget woes, spurred by the lingering effects of the pandemic.

For Supervisor Connie Chan, who announced her proposal at a Tuesday press conference and represents District 1, which includes the Richmond District, the cuts would reduce her annual salary by $16,819, to $151,355. 

With mounting deficits, the Board of Supervisors will be asking departments to do more with less, she said. Through her proposal, city leaders would set an example and demonstrate how severe the situation is.

“The message today is that business cannot go on as usual,” Chan said. She warned that, in the long run, the city must reduce its rate of spending commensurate with revenue. Chan, who chairs the city’s Budget and Appropriations Committee, said supervisors will soon “be forced to make some draconian cuts to city staffing, city services and community services.” 

The proposal would set aside the money, totaling an estimated $1.5 million, for a reserve fund that could be used to help protect some essential services, which could be pared back if lawmakers approve a budget plan by Mayor London Breed.

At least at first, the fund would be much too small to fully address the budget’s critical condition — the city faces a nearly $790 million shortfall over the next two fiscal years. Chan said she intends to soon announce other ways to fill the reserve fund.

City Hall has faced increasing budget shortfalls since the COVID-19 pandemic, which hobbled the downtown office real estate market, disrupting a major source of tax revenue. Local officials and media outlets have long warned that dwindling public coffers would cause a reduction in city services. Some supervisors and local social service providers have bristled at Breed’s budget plan, saying that it endangers essential services intended to help low-income renters and increase public safety, among other things.

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