By: Dakin Sloss

According to California Common Sense, in the last two decades, San Francisco’s government per capita spending on infrastructure has almost perfectly followed stock market trends (even adjusting for inflation).

In 1991, San Francisco general fund spending on public works, transportation and commerce was approximately 6 percent, but during the dot-com bubble that nearly doubled to almost 11 percent. As the bubble burst, that dropped dramatically falling below 6 percent in 2004. With recovery and the housing bubble, the figure returned to 9 percent only to drop back to 6 percent in the most recent recession.


This trend seems suspect and problematic. Is it good for San Franciscans to see the city government’s investment in infrastructure increase during boom years only to return to baseline during economic troubles?

Well, now that you know the facts, you can share your thoughts so that elected officials can more effectively serve your needs. California Common Sense is providing these data visualizations, and Reset San Francisco is hosting information from them, because of a shared belief that better information leads to better policy. This is the primary benefit of government transparency: unprecedented citizen access to information about how their money is spent and the ability to participate in more informed discourse about the decisions that government makes.