Having showed themselves to be completely feckless when dealing with the budgetary issues facing Palo Alto, and unable to cut from spending anything that might offend the usual interest groups and city employees, some council members apparently think we can escape our situation by taxing businesses in town. (Web Link).
Nevermind that, as the linked piece shows, there is a fairness issue since businesses already pay a majority of the taxes in town. The real issue is that Palo Alto, which already has a reputation of being an expensive and unfriendly place to operate, is adding one more reason for businesses to stay away.
This tax might give the Council a year or so reprieve from the fiscal hanging that's coming to them, but in the long run it can only make the problem worse.
There's plenty of commercial vacancy in the south bay and peninsula real estate market right now. If you were a company looking to expand or relocate, how much more likely is it that you'd choose Palo Alto, which if Bern Beecham has his way, will be the only local city with this kind of levy?
If our companies start putting their employees in Sunnyvale or Mountain View, they'll not only take the illusory $50 per head Beecham covets, they'll take their property, sales and utility tax revenues with them - actually costing the city revenue.
Then we'll see more posts on this forum asking why Mountain View has a surplus, while Palo Alto struggles. (See here:Web Link)
Oh well, at least Beecham can claim he's doing something about the jobs/housing imbalance.