In a New York Times op-ed, Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff calls for support from other companies and business leaders for a tax increase that seeks to end San Francisco’s homelessness crisis.
Benioff, a fourth-generation San Franciscan, wrote that in the San Francisco Bay Area about one in 30 children in public schools are living on the streets of San Francisco, and more than 1,000 people are on wait lists for emergency shelters every night. He noted that homelessness is a national problem. “The nation’s homeless population is growing as the high cost of housing pushes more people onto the streets. In New York City, about one in every 10 students in public schools is now homeless, a record high,” he wrote.
“Back when I was in business school in the 1980s, I was taught — as were generations of aspiring entrepreneurs and executives — that the business of business is business,” Benioff wrote, adding that some CEOs embrace the myopic view that they have a fiduciary duty to shareholders alone. “I contend that business must have a purpose beyond profits, and that such purpose can, over time, benefit both stockholders and stakeholders.”
San Francisco has the third-highest number of billionaires on the planet, and many of those high-net-worth individuals have given little or nothing to support local public schools, hospitals and communities, Benioff noted.
Benioff and Salesforce are aligned with a broad coalition of San Francisco citizens, business leaders, elected officials, and activists who are supporting Proposition C on the November ballot. Proposition C calls for a small tax — half of 1 percent — on San Francisco’s wealthiest businesses (on annual gross receipts over $50 million generated in the city) to confront the homelessness problem. Benioff also recently discussed Proposition C in a fireside chat with Wired.
Read the New York Times op-ed here.