City of Palo Alto Business Tax, Measure A (November 2009)
If voters had approved Measure A, businesses in Palo Alto would have been required to pay the city a minimum of $75/year over and above the taxes they already pay, plus an extra $35 to $75 per year for each new additional employee. The new tax would have gone into effect in 2011. The tax would have been based on how many employees a business has, not on how much (or how little) profit the business makes. Some businesses would have to pay as much as $30,000 more in taxes every year under the proposed measure.
Some businesses would have been exempt. These were to include residential landlords renting fewer than three units, and non-profit organizations with fewer than 100 employees.
The Palo Alto City Council, which voted to put Measure A on the ballot, believed that it will raise $3 million in new taxes for the city.
- These final, certified, election results are from the Santa Clara County elections office.
Supporters of Measure A believed that it would give city politicians more money and that, if they had more money, politicians would do something about the city's backlog of repairs, maintenance and general infrastructure.
Skip Justman formed a group called "Small Business Against Taxes" to oppose Measure A. Justman was also the chair of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce's Government Action Committee.
The group developed a fact sheet in which it laid out its arguments against Measure A. Arguments included:
- "Measure A will create a business license tax in Palo Alto written by the city to benefit large corporations and will unfairly burden our city's small businesses".
- If Measure A passes, it will charge multi-billion-dollar corporations a lower rate per employee than small businesses.
- Manufacturing firms would pay $34 per employee while professional service businesses would pay $95 per employee.
- The city's largest corporations will pay lower rates than medium-sized businesses.
The question on the ballot:
|Measure A: "Shall the Palo Alto Municipal Code be amended to establish a business license tax in order to help maintain the City’s ability to fund basic City services?"|
- The Mercury News, "Palo Alto council OKs business tax ballot measure", June 23, 2009
- The Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Palo Alto staff push business tax toward ballot", May 30, 2009
- Mercury News, "Palo Alto business tax foes step up campaign", September 5, 2009
- CBS 5, "Palo Alto Set to Vote on Business Tax"
- Daily News, "Opposition to business tax takes shape", August 5, 2009