After last-minute deal, business tax lands on Palo Alto ballot | August 12, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 12, 2022

After last-minute deal, business tax lands on Palo Alto ballot

City reaches compromise with opponents, moves ahead with revised measure

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto voters will have a chance in November to approve a business tax, though the measure they'll be considering will be far more modest than the one that the City Council was contemplating just days ago.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2022 at 12:01 pm

Annette is a registered user.

We’ve been building towards this denouement for years. The community of big businesses has grown accustomed to getting its way here. Past Councils can be *thanked* for this. Now we want them to simply pay their fair share of the cost of the infrastructure they use and they object. And threaten an “anti” campaign. We’ve seen this before with threats of a lawsuit (Hotel President, Foothills Park, Castilleja). If the other side isn’t negotiating in good faith is the City bound to concessions made to date or can it go forward with a meaningful business tax that will yield the revenue projections stated at the beginning of this effort? I believe the number was $45 million. Sure, the business heavies will push back and launch a vigorous and no doubt vicious campaign. So what? That’s their prerogative. Let the voters decide if they should continue to have a free pass or pay their fair share.

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 9, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

I come down on the side of a business tax, in whatever the per square foot range is, that would yield the latest CC's goal to raise $16,500,000 to support our budget. I'm pretty sure this will end up on the ballot for voters to decide. I thank all the council members who have put time in on this issue. I also understand the reason for the opposition. The spokespersons for big businesses are just following marching orders from their CEO's, and the subservient organizations are toeing the line also, because they know where their funding comes from. They're smart people and doing their jobs, but Palo Alto is also blessed with thousands of smart people (residents) who see our infrastructure crumbling around us and they see the benefits companies get from having a Palo Alto address and being able to have all the benefits of infrastructure and utilities that we provide.

Okay, now to the point of how to spend the money! Maybe $2 million to affordable housing, just to show good faith, but the fact is that it will take hundreds of millions to make a dent in it. The bulk of it should go towards hard infrastructure projects that help all residents. The rail crossings are a regional problem and that needs to be addressed at a regional, state, and federal level. It's a region where thousands of commuters live and need those crossings to make their commutes easier and shorter. Now we're down to the homeless and climate change issues. My priority pick is for the homeless. Some money should go into making residents aware of things they can do to have an impact on climate change, but that shouldn't cover a fiber optics network which would only serve the people who could afford it. I'll be happy to suffer longer download times, and streaming capabilities if it could get one more homeless person off the streets.

Posted by community member
a resident of University South
on Aug 9, 2022 at 7:58 pm

community member is a registered user.

Which are the influential businesses on the Chamber?
Stanford? Amazon? HP? Tesla?
I searched their website and they hide any real information
so I gave up in frustration.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 9, 2022 at 11:55 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"When Burt repeatedly asked him and Weidanz whether they would be willing to continue negotiating, neither would commit to any meaningful changes to the business group's proposal, which would net about $7.1 million in annual revenues."

I heard Burt repeatedly ask Weidanz about willingness to negotiate in "good faith" -- a phrase Weidanz objected to repeatedly and so aggressively I kept hoping that Burt would say he kept using the phrase "good faith" because Weidanz was obviously unclear on the concept. Instead he groveled, effectively begging for a meeting unlikely to be productive.

I'm from the East Coast. I like plain talk -- about the costs WE pay to support business that hurt our restaurants with their own cafeterias, by not supporting crime prevention that protect their stores -- how many times has the Apple Store, for example, been robbed and at what cost to the city??

Winter Dellerbach's remarks about how much the CC gave away were classic.

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