<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.10/article/5bc266bfdda4c883768b4638.JPG"> <figcaption>A homeless camp in San Francisco © Reuters/Beck Diefenbach / <span class="copyright">Free</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>Billionaires Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, and Salesforce head Marc Benioff squared off over whether San Francisco tech giants should be taxed to help solve the city’s catastrophic homelessness problem.</strong> At the midterms next month residents of the ultra-liberal city will be asked to vote on Proposition C – a new tax, amounting to approximately 0.5 percent on revenues above $50 million, for businesses headquartered in the city. The tax, which will affect Twitter, Uber, Wells Fargo, Gap and dozens of other major multinationals, could bring in $300 million per year, doubling the city’s homelessness budget.
But Jack Dorsey, a self-confessed liberal, spoke out against the idea.
“I want to help fix the homeless problem in SF and California. I don’t believe this (Prop C) is the best way to do it,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Instead, Dorsey asked residents to support the newly-elected Democrat mayor of the city, London Breed, who has not endorsed the proposal. Breed has initially promised to audit the money that is already being spent, to calculate whether it is actually tackling or encouraging the problem, which has worsened in lockstep with the city’s wealth.
But the tweet caught the attention of Benioff, one of the main ideologues of Proposition C, who is spending over $1 million of his own money to lobby and advertise it.
And straight away, he made it personal.
Dorsey argued that he was merely being reasonable.
But Benioff, himself a solid liberal, countered that the benefits from the tax would be specific and tangible.
In the end, rather than continuing the fight online, the two men, whose combined wealth exceeds $10 billion, decided to take it offline, though Jack did not make it through initially.
The internecine warfare split those online.
But while some insisted that the vote is a straightforward pro or anti-homeless referendum, whatever the decision in November finding the right combination between compassion, toughness and effectiveness, is going to be a challenge for the Democrat-dominated city hall, where every new administration has come in with the best of intentions.
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