News

Economic anxieties complicate Palo Alto's march toward business tax

Survey suggests that while tax measure remains viable, voters are open to dissuasion

SAP is one of about 150 companies at Stanford Research Park. Embarcadero Media file photo by Lloyd Lee.

As Palo Alto marches toward placing a business tax on the November ballot, city leaders are bracing for an onslaught of opposition from local corporations, developers and regional organizations such as the Silicon Valley Leadership group.

The anti-tax campaign has already begun with flyers and social media ads, some of which quote local business executives and argue that this is not the right time for a new tax. But while this message has been a mantra of sorts for opponents over the past five years, it has taken on increasing resonance at a time of rising inflation and a shaky economy.

A new survey from the city's polling firm FM3 Research captures the public's growing feeling of pessimism and uncertainty. Conducted between May 22 and May 26, the survey shows that for the first time in recent years, a plurality of responders — 39% — said they believe things in Palo Alto are going in the wrong direction, while 36% believe they are going in the right direction. That's a far cry from 2016, when 61% reported that they considered the city was going in the right direction, while 25% took the opposite stance.

The combination of economic uncertainty and fierce opposition from the business community may make the business tax a tough sell in November. While the survey suggests that the business tax has a good chance of passing, the existing level of support remains soft and residents remain very open to persuasion. Of the 58% of the voters who voiced support for a business tax based on a rate of 10 cents per square foot, just 21% were characterized as "definite yes" while 37% said they were "probably yes." Meanwhile, 38% of the respondents said they would oppose the tax, with 24% classified as "definitely no" and 14% as "probably no." The remaining 3% were undecided.

Dave Metz, president of FM3 Research, warned the council Monday that after negative messaging from opponents, the support for the business measure could drop to a dead heat.

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"That's an indication that there's just a lot of hesitancy among voters to commit to a vote on the yes side, as much as it's their general instinct," Metz told the council. "That's an indication that the nature of campaigns that might be waged for or against the measure in the community are likely to have some impact."

Both the business tax and a separate measure that would affirm the city's practice of transferring funds from the gas utility to the general fund start from a position of being "viable from the perspective of voters' initial support," Metz said. That, however, can easily change.

"A lot will really hinge on the nature of the pro and con campaigns that community groups may wage if the measures are put forward, given the degree to which voters do seem to be open to changing their minds," Metz said.

The uncertainty has not, however, deterred the council. On Monday, the council voted 5-1, with Greg Tanaka dissenting and Greer Stone absent, to proceed with the plan after further refinements. The tax measure, which the council expects to formally finalize next week, will be based on square footage and will exempt from the tax all grocery stores, hotels and businesses with less than 5,000 square feet.

The tax would bring in an estimated $20 million in annual revenues. Though the council will have broad discretion on how to spend the proceeds, members indicated Monday that they would like to devote $10 million to public safety, $5 million to affordable housing and $5 million to transportation, primarily to advance grade separation at rail crossings.

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Council members have been plotting the tax for more than five years and were preparing to place the measure on the 2020 ballot before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted them to reconsider. Even before the pandemic walloped the local economy in 2020, business leaders have steadfastly opposed the measure, arguing that it would deter some businesses from coming to Palo Alto and prompt others to leave.

Charlie Weidanz, CEO of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, reiterated this argument Monday when he told the council that many local businesses cannot afford the new tax.

"This proposed business licenses tax is bad for Palo Alto and could kill the downtown we hope to see thrive," Weidanz said.

Dan Kostenbauder, vice president of tax policy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, has also consistently opposed all of Palo Alto's prior efforts to enact a business tax. In recent months, his organization joined the city's Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Chapter of NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, to take out ads against the new tax. The new group, known as the Palo Alto Community and Business Alliance, has launched a website to target the new tax. Its slogan is "Now is not the time."

Kostenbauder suggested Monday that the business community would be more likely to back the business tax if the council made it a "special tax" that is dedicated to a particular project or funding area as opposed to a "general tax," which gives the council broad discretion to spend the funding.

"A special tax with legally binding commitments to fund specific objectives would have been much more likely to gain broader support," Kostenbauder said.

Council members, however, showed little appetite for pursuing a special tax, which would need support from two-thirds of the voters to pass. Instead, they favored a general tax, which could be enacted with a simple majority. In doing so, however, they made it clear that public safety, affordable housing and transportation will be the three focus areas. Council member Eric Filseth focused on affordable housing and argued that a business tax is crucial to making progress in this area.

"The only sustainable funding is a tax," Filseth said. "A large business tax makes sense, especially in an area where so many large corporations have thrived, including during the pandemic. Without the tax, we'll never build housing."

Holding up an anti-tax flyer from the business groups, Filseth lamented their aggressive position against the measure and questioned their decision to spend money on an advertising campaign against the city's tax measure.

"Some regional folks feel so strongly about not spending money on affordable housing that they're spending money on not spending money on affordable housing," he said.

Much like at prior discussions of the business tax, every council member except Tanaka voted to advance the measure. But more so than in the past, the council acknowledged the increasingly difficult political climate.

"The current political situation and state of the economy and apprehension about inflation and recession makes this not a highly favorable time to put a tax revenue through," Mayor Pat Burt said. "We've got to be conscious of that."

He suggested having council members talk to business leaders in the next week, before the business measure returns to the council for final approval and goes on the ballot. Among the factors the council is still trying to hash out is whether to set the rate at 10 cents or 12 cents per square foot.

Tanaka, who has been against all prior attempts to enact a business tax, reiterated his opposition Monday and pointed to the economic challenges that both the city and the nation are now experiencing.

"What we should be doing during a time of need, when things are really difficult is we should be making it easier to do business, we should be encouraging business formation, we should be trying to bootstrap the economy," Tanaka said. "If the economy was red-hot and we didn't have these massive storm clouds right above us maybe it would make sense, but right now it's just the opposite — it has never been worse."

Several residents, meanwhile, spoke in favor of staying the course and observed that Palo Alto is the only city in the region that doesn't have a business tax. Bob Moss, a longtime council watchdog, said it is overdue for the city to tax its businesses.

"The impact that businesses have — the requirement for city services and the jobs-housing imbalance — are significant and we should be addressing that," Moss said.

Proponents of the two proposed revenue measures can also point to the economic downturn to bolster their arguments. With revenues dropping over the course of the pandemic, the city has cut spending in the Police and Fire departments as well as on libraries and community services. In the past, the city transferred about $7 million from the gas utility to the general fund to support these services. A recent lawsuit from resident Miriam Green halted this practice, with the court finding that the transfer amounted to an "illegal tax." By having voters reaffirm the practice at the polls, the city is hoping to restore the transfers and, hence, the services.

Christine Paras, assistant director of the Administrative Services Department, noted that while staff has recommended restoring these services in the budget, maintaining them would require additional revenues.

"These services will most likely be cut if this transfer is not affirmed," Paras said.

Hamilton Hitchings, a local resident who supports the business tax, observed that the city also lacks funding for grade separation and for affordable housing — areas that could be addressed if the measure passes.

"Despite what the optimists say, there's not enough funding for the rail crossings in the city without it," Hitchings said. "Likewise, to help keep our city socioeconomically diverse by providing housing opportunities to low-income workers and residents, the city needs to do its fair share and this tax is one of the core pillars of funding that is necessary."

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Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Economic anxieties complicate Palo Alto's march toward business tax

Survey suggests that while tax measure remains viable, voters are open to dissuasion

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jun 14, 2022, 1:12 am

As Palo Alto marches toward placing a business tax on the November ballot, city leaders are bracing for an onslaught of opposition from local corporations, developers and regional organizations such as the Silicon Valley Leadership group.

The anti-tax campaign has already begun with flyers and social media ads, some of which quote local business executives and argue that this is not the right time for a new tax. But while this message has been a mantra of sorts for opponents over the past five years, it has taken on increasing resonance at a time of rising inflation and a shaky economy.

A new survey from the city's polling firm FM3 Research captures the public's growing feeling of pessimism and uncertainty. Conducted between May 22 and May 26, the survey shows that for the first time in recent years, a plurality of responders — 39% — said they believe things in Palo Alto are going in the wrong direction, while 36% believe they are going in the right direction. That's a far cry from 2016, when 61% reported that they considered the city was going in the right direction, while 25% took the opposite stance.

The combination of economic uncertainty and fierce opposition from the business community may make the business tax a tough sell in November. While the survey suggests that the business tax has a good chance of passing, the existing level of support remains soft and residents remain very open to persuasion. Of the 58% of the voters who voiced support for a business tax based on a rate of 10 cents per square foot, just 21% were characterized as "definite yes" while 37% said they were "probably yes." Meanwhile, 38% of the respondents said they would oppose the tax, with 24% classified as "definitely no" and 14% as "probably no." The remaining 3% were undecided.

Dave Metz, president of FM3 Research, warned the council Monday that after negative messaging from opponents, the support for the business measure could drop to a dead heat.

"That's an indication that there's just a lot of hesitancy among voters to commit to a vote on the yes side, as much as it's their general instinct," Metz told the council. "That's an indication that the nature of campaigns that might be waged for or against the measure in the community are likely to have some impact."

Both the business tax and a separate measure that would affirm the city's practice of transferring funds from the gas utility to the general fund start from a position of being "viable from the perspective of voters' initial support," Metz said. That, however, can easily change.

"A lot will really hinge on the nature of the pro and con campaigns that community groups may wage if the measures are put forward, given the degree to which voters do seem to be open to changing their minds," Metz said.

The uncertainty has not, however, deterred the council. On Monday, the council voted 5-1, with Greg Tanaka dissenting and Greer Stone absent, to proceed with the plan after further refinements. The tax measure, which the council expects to formally finalize next week, will be based on square footage and will exempt from the tax all grocery stores, hotels and businesses with less than 5,000 square feet.

The tax would bring in an estimated $20 million in annual revenues. Though the council will have broad discretion on how to spend the proceeds, members indicated Monday that they would like to devote $10 million to public safety, $5 million to affordable housing and $5 million to transportation, primarily to advance grade separation at rail crossings.

Council members have been plotting the tax for more than five years and were preparing to place the measure on the 2020 ballot before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted them to reconsider. Even before the pandemic walloped the local economy in 2020, business leaders have steadfastly opposed the measure, arguing that it would deter some businesses from coming to Palo Alto and prompt others to leave.

Charlie Weidanz, CEO of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, reiterated this argument Monday when he told the council that many local businesses cannot afford the new tax.

"This proposed business licenses tax is bad for Palo Alto and could kill the downtown we hope to see thrive," Weidanz said.

Dan Kostenbauder, vice president of tax policy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, has also consistently opposed all of Palo Alto's prior efforts to enact a business tax. In recent months, his organization joined the city's Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Chapter of NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, to take out ads against the new tax. The new group, known as the Palo Alto Community and Business Alliance, has launched a website to target the new tax. Its slogan is "Now is not the time."

Kostenbauder suggested Monday that the business community would be more likely to back the business tax if the council made it a "special tax" that is dedicated to a particular project or funding area as opposed to a "general tax," which gives the council broad discretion to spend the funding.

"A special tax with legally binding commitments to fund specific objectives would have been much more likely to gain broader support," Kostenbauder said.

Council members, however, showed little appetite for pursuing a special tax, which would need support from two-thirds of the voters to pass. Instead, they favored a general tax, which could be enacted with a simple majority. In doing so, however, they made it clear that public safety, affordable housing and transportation will be the three focus areas. Council member Eric Filseth focused on affordable housing and argued that a business tax is crucial to making progress in this area.

"The only sustainable funding is a tax," Filseth said. "A large business tax makes sense, especially in an area where so many large corporations have thrived, including during the pandemic. Without the tax, we'll never build housing."

Holding up an anti-tax flyer from the business groups, Filseth lamented their aggressive position against the measure and questioned their decision to spend money on an advertising campaign against the city's tax measure.

"Some regional folks feel so strongly about not spending money on affordable housing that they're spending money on not spending money on affordable housing," he said.

Much like at prior discussions of the business tax, every council member except Tanaka voted to advance the measure. But more so than in the past, the council acknowledged the increasingly difficult political climate.

"The current political situation and state of the economy and apprehension about inflation and recession makes this not a highly favorable time to put a tax revenue through," Mayor Pat Burt said. "We've got to be conscious of that."

He suggested having council members talk to business leaders in the next week, before the business measure returns to the council for final approval and goes on the ballot. Among the factors the council is still trying to hash out is whether to set the rate at 10 cents or 12 cents per square foot.

Tanaka, who has been against all prior attempts to enact a business tax, reiterated his opposition Monday and pointed to the economic challenges that both the city and the nation are now experiencing.

"What we should be doing during a time of need, when things are really difficult is we should be making it easier to do business, we should be encouraging business formation, we should be trying to bootstrap the economy," Tanaka said. "If the economy was red-hot and we didn't have these massive storm clouds right above us maybe it would make sense, but right now it's just the opposite — it has never been worse."

Several residents, meanwhile, spoke in favor of staying the course and observed that Palo Alto is the only city in the region that doesn't have a business tax. Bob Moss, a longtime council watchdog, said it is overdue for the city to tax its businesses.

"The impact that businesses have — the requirement for city services and the jobs-housing imbalance — are significant and we should be addressing that," Moss said.

Proponents of the two proposed revenue measures can also point to the economic downturn to bolster their arguments. With revenues dropping over the course of the pandemic, the city has cut spending in the Police and Fire departments as well as on libraries and community services. In the past, the city transferred about $7 million from the gas utility to the general fund to support these services. A recent lawsuit from resident Miriam Green halted this practice, with the court finding that the transfer amounted to an "illegal tax." By having voters reaffirm the practice at the polls, the city is hoping to restore the transfers and, hence, the services.

Christine Paras, assistant director of the Administrative Services Department, noted that while staff has recommended restoring these services in the budget, maintaining them would require additional revenues.

"These services will most likely be cut if this transfer is not affirmed," Paras said.

Hamilton Hitchings, a local resident who supports the business tax, observed that the city also lacks funding for grade separation and for affordable housing — areas that could be addressed if the measure passes.

"Despite what the optimists say, there's not enough funding for the rail crossings in the city without it," Hitchings said. "Likewise, to help keep our city socioeconomically diverse by providing housing opportunities to low-income workers and residents, the city needs to do its fair share and this tax is one of the core pillars of funding that is necessary."

Comments

Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2022 at 11:19 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 11:19 am

I know CC has worked hard on this and I'd like to support it b/c businesses, especially the largest ones, should contribute to City services and infrastructure. But it really doesn't matter what this CC would "like" to spend the revenue on b/c a general tax is non-binding. And in this city, that's a problem. I urge CC to put forward a ballot measure for a specifc tax. More votes will be needed to pass it, but the revenue from the tax will be for specific uses and not subject to "prevailing winds".


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:01 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:01 pm

I think the city did all it could do to ensure that the business tax would be so confusing that it would fail -- just as the lobbyists wanted it to do. Their conflating the "Business" tax with the Gas Utility Transfer tax is a money-grab designed to muddy the waters and to enshrine their continued practice of ripping off Palo Alto to the tune of $20,000,000 each and every year. -- AND to avoid paying us the court-ordered settlement in the Miriam Green lawsuit.

Given the city's budget and huge gravy train of consultants, it's inability to construct and maintain a business registry is inexcusable -- and a bad joke.

That being said, we need a CLEAN business tax on the commuters who over-run us, NOT on resident-serving retail. But they knew that -- and didn't provide it. Shameful.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:13 pm

Nice try Mayor, but what do you think business leaders will say during those interviews with CC members this week? I think a few adjustments to the measure that will be proposed for the November ballot, could push it over the top for the 'pro' taxers. I think the comments about the businesses not being supportive of 'affordable housing' is basically correct. Individuals who work for those businesses/companies might be devout supporters of affordable housing but it's the corporate leaders looking out after their bottom lines that tacitly oppose it by pushing hard against a business tax.

My suggested adjustments to the measure to give it a better chance of passing with only a majority vote: Increase the business/company physical size to 20K-30K square feet, include a labor force size (number of employees) requirement, and an annual gross income, for the companies that would be affected. I know, I know, that would probably take time to study and poll, so that part would have to be left up to consultants and pollsters...and they don't come cheap. Let me know if you know of any pro bono work being done by any of them. I'm not worried about missing any of your calls, emails, or text messages about pro bono responders that you know.


PaloAltoVoter
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:57 pm
PaloAltoVoter, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Don’t back off council! The residents will support a tax on business. It’s far beyond their time for businesses to pay their fair share. A lot of Palo Alto’s success has created impacts - a huge daytime population, a regional mall that is a crime magnet, and some of the highest commercial rents on the peninsula. Many of the tech companies had record profits throughout the pandemic. Paying about 1% of their office rent as a tax to help improve our community is something they should not fight. And if they do I am confident in our residents seeing through their arguments and passing it anyways. Don’t cave council! Let’s get this on the ballot and pass it!


tmp
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2022 at 2:50 pm
tmp, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 2:50 pm

This is a great tax idea that will help fund needed services in the city. These large businesses have benefitted to an extraordinary level the past few years while they pay little towards the running of the city. They rely on city provided police, fire, roads, water, electricity and other services. It is time for them to help fund them.

Stores and small business are exempt. This is not a difficult tax to figure out. It is easily based on the square footage of the business. Given the exorbitant rents charged per square footage around here this very small addition will not be a problem. They just don't want to be good citizens of the city and pay for what they use.

Further, this tax should go to the general fund. The needs of the city change over time and what the city council and manager do is try to manage the funds and allocate them to programs as needs change. As city members we may not all agree that a new parking structure, rail separation, low income housing or a sports center is what needs funding this year, but we all have the right to run for city council or voice our opinion. So once city councils are elected they do the best they can to allocate these funds, and they can never please all of the people, all of the time.

What we, as city residents, can do is look to who in the city is paying their fair share towards upkeep and who is not and fix that issue. Every other city in this area has a business tax - we need one also. This tax needs to be passed.


Richard
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 14, 2022 at 5:48 pm
Richard, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 5:48 pm

As proposed as a tax for the general fund I won't support this tax. My opposition is not because of the business lobby's claim that "now is not the time." In their view no time is the time. I think certain services really need bolstering, like police, fire and having streets that don't look like they have been run over by tanks (have you ridden on Churchill Avenue lately; riding a bike is akin to working a jack hammer). I would support the tax if it were so targeted. These are all services that businesses use so it is reasonable for them to help pay for them. Yes, I realize that it would take more votes but a tax for the general fund, but in view of the seemingly large "city staff" and consultants, and the bureaucracy they have created, with the support of the city council, I don't trust the council to use general funds for the most needed projects.


Deborah
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jun 14, 2022 at 7:05 pm
Deborah, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 7:05 pm

How about a 2% tax on all real estate transactions? San Francisco now has that. So does the entire state of Washington. If you've got $15 million for a house, seems to me 2% for the city on top of that is chump change.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 14, 2022 at 9:27 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 9:27 pm

Residents are already paying a County Transfer Tax and a City Transfer tax plus CA cap gains and Federal Capital Gains tax plus whatever clever hidden fees like transfor recording tax etc.

How dies a 2% tax on ALL reak estate transactions equate to a BUSINESS tax? Actually silly me; I'm sure our city spinners will work hard to convince us that it is a business tax.


anon1234
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2022 at 2:25 am
anon1234, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 15, 2022 at 2:25 am

Please don’t delay this long delayed tax for any reason ! We are internet of the only cities that currently does NOT tax big corporations.
Big corporations may do a lot of good but they also bring a lot of issues that government needs funds to address.
Yes please get the details right but by no means delay a tax on big corporations to help pay for infrastructure, housing, parks, libraries etc …etc….there an amazing amount corporate wealth in and passing through this town; high time to enact a business tax now!


anon1234
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2022 at 2:28 am
anon1234, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 15, 2022 at 2:28 am

Sorry second line should be
We are one of the only cities…


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2022 at 9:45 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 15, 2022 at 9:45 pm

Not to mention how the commercial sector has benefited from Prop 13 loopholes for commercial real estate transactions so that during the interim years city revenue generated by that sector’s property taxes has plunged from approximately 50% to 25%, on a continuing downward trajectory.


James
Registered user
Midtown
on Jun 15, 2022 at 10:18 pm
James, Midtown
Registered user
on Jun 15, 2022 at 10:18 pm

City general fund spending, resident population, and average per person:

Palo Alto $247M, 68572, $3602
Mountain View $165M, 82376, $2003
Cupertino $93M, 60381, $1540
Menlo Park $80M, 33780, $2368
Los Altos $51M, 31625, $1612

General fund expenditures exclude utilities. So they are comparable.

Seems Palo Alto government is already spending far more, both in total and in average per resident, than surrounding cities. Where did the money go? Personally I don't feel that Palo Alto residents enjoy more than double the amenities of Los Altos, or twice better qualities of service.


Eric Filseth
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2022 at 11:04 am
Eric Filseth, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 16, 2022 at 11:04 am

I certainly agree with @James’ intent, but getting apples-to-apples comparison data on these things is notoriously hard. For example, the City of Menlo Park has no Fire Department, which is $41M/yr in Palo Alto. Instead, Menlo Park’s fire and emergency medical services come from a separate Fire Prevention District, which is funded directly from property taxes and doesn’t appear in the City’s General Fund at all. If we did the same thing, our General Fund Expense accounting would be $41M lower. That’s a big swing.

Another example: most cities charge fees for at least some of their services. For example, Palo Alto’s Development Services Department posts $22M/yr in General Fund Expenses, but it also recovers $18M/yr of that in fees. We count that as $22M in expense, but should we really count $4M instead? If we cut Development Services in half, then per-capita, do we save $11M/68572, or $2M/68572? Different cities have different cost-recovery ratios too.

This is by no means to argue we shouldn’t try to get these numbers; just, it’s tricky to get really proper comparisons because there’s a ton of devil-in-the-details stuff, and how it’s all reported varies between cities and departments. The best approach might be to really drill down on individual departments and try to apples-to-apples it one function at a time.

I myself believe we generally spend more per capita than other cities, but in terms of what really matters I don’t know how much. We certainly do some things differently. For example, we run our own ambulance services, nearby cities outsource to private corporations. We have five libraries, Menlo Park has two. And so on. But is it all worth it? That remains hard to answer definitively.


James
Registered user
Midtown
on Jun 17, 2022 at 9:53 am
James, Midtown
Registered user
on Jun 17, 2022 at 9:53 am

I'm not an expert in municipal accounting practices. But if I were an leader of Chamber of Commerce or the other organizations against the tax I'd get an expert to compare the books of Palo Alto and other cities, to convince Palo Alto residents on why the tax is not a good idea.


ArtL
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2022 at 8:54 am
ArtL, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jun 18, 2022 at 8:54 am

The Council is trying to 'have their cake and eat it too' with their proposal. If the Council were clearly focused on using the funds for the purposes they proposed and promised, the Council would have proposed three special taxes: one for affordable housing, one for public safety, and a third on grade separation. That way, they would know for sure the community's priorities. As it stands, after the next Council election there will be a new Council WITHOUT ANY constraint on their allocations of the tax funds. I would expect the new Council going forward would feel it would be within their purview - actually they would feel liberated -to do a switcheroo and move the money into other categories.


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