According to the CIA’s World Factbook, San Francisco operates on a budget nearly 20 times that of Belize, at $550 million. Some of the other countries with smaller budgets include Greenland at $1.68 billion, Aruba at $838.3 million, Albania at $3.535 billion and North Korea at $3.3 billion. Also on the list are Botswana, Bosnia, Senegal, Yemen, Madagascar, Cuba, Paraguay, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iceland, Mongolia, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cyprus, Congo, Cameroon, Haiti, Bahrain, The Bahamas, Afghanistan, and Uganda.
San Francisco’s massive budget has been growing rapidly in the past few years. In 2013, the city was just approaching $8 billion, meaning the city’s spending has increased by almost $2 billion in the past three years. Heather Knight of the San Francisco Chronicle delved into why the city’s budget is so big, especially this year’s record-breaking budget. ‘For starters, San Francisco is unique in the state for being both a city and a county, which means it has regular city duties like cleaning streets and providing a police force, and the county tasks of providing health services, including a major public hospital and a social safety net,’ Knight explains. This county-city combination is unusual for many metropolitan centers. Other factors include the fact that the city is host to a large international airport and the Hetch Hetchy water system. In spite of San Francisco’s astronomical spending, the city is still quite a penny-pincher in comparison to cities like Hong Kong, which is estimated to have spent $63 billion last year.
By Courtney Holcomb