City may beef up phone tax | May 7, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - May 7, 2010

City may beef up phone tax

International calls would be included if voters approve

by Daniel DeBolt

A survey of local voters shows that a majority would support a November ballot measure to place an additional tax on phone calls in Mountain View.

It is estimated that the city could raise several hundred thousand dollars in new revenue by expanding the telephone user's tax to interstate and international phone calls. As the city faces a $4 million deficit this year, the City Council appeared to support the proposed ballot measure in an April 27 study session. A city-hired consultant said 68 percent of local voters supported the ballot measure in a recent survey.

"Adding these calls does not appear to be of overriding concern to voters when compared to the benefit to the community ... that the UUT (utility user's tax) revenue helps fund," a city staff report concludes.

The staff proposes "modernizing" the telephone user's tax portion of the UUT to include new technologies such as voice over internet protocol phone services. The city's general fund already receives $1.9 million a year from a 3 percent tax on intrastate phone calls that originate in Mountain View, according to a staff report. But the city has not been as aggressive as other cities in pursuing taxes from all forms of phone use.

The survey asked questions of voters to reveal why they might support the tax. Over 70 percent strongly disagreed with the notion that the city could not be trusted to manage additional tax revenue.

"Voters believe the city is going a good job of providing quality services," said consultant Larry Tramutola.

Those surveyed also prioritized new taxes for youth and teen services over emergency services like police and fire.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields