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Council backs employee tax that would cost Google millions

Original post made on Jun 7, 2018

Something that might sound like free-market heresy could soon become reality in Mountain View -- taxing employers for creating jobs.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 7, 2018, 11:11 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by Tony Siress
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:42 am

Hi, I sat through the entire process, it is important to note that the proposal adopted by City Council has what I believe to be a very unfair fixed rate for our smallest employers. A company with 2 employees pays the same as a company with 25, or 2 employees = $100/employee 25 employees = $8/employee. If this is not screwing the small guy I don't know what is? FYI we have over 3000 companies with 1-2 employees in Mountain View.


Posted by do the math
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:58 am

so the "tax" will be $150/person. I'd guess the average fully loaded cost of a Google (or pick any other large tech company in the area) has fully loaded cost per employee (compensation plus benefits) of more than $225,000/year so this will increase the average cost per employee by ~0.07%, I'd be surprised if that was the deciding factor leading any company to expand elsewhere......


Posted by Mark Noack
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Mark Noack is a registered user.

Hi folks,

Nothing is simple about this business license tax proposal, and Tony Siress is correct that I missed something pretty important in my initial story.

I forgot to mention that smaller businesses with fewer than 50 workers would face a fee increase, although they wouldn't be paying the per-employee tax. The annual business license fee for those employers would be increased as follows:

$100 for 1 employee
$200 for 2 - 25 employees
$400 for 26 to 50 employees.

Most businesses are currently paying $34 per year for their licenses.

Sorry about any confusion this may have caused!


Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Remind me... how this will benefit residents?


Posted by Bite the Hands that Feed you
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2018 at 2:55 pm

It's really strange that Mayor Siegel has elected to not disclose the tax revenues of the large employers in Mountain View. Collectively the top 10 represent in excess of $130M/year in tax revenues to the City of Mountain View. (all public information) This is nothing more than a re-election ploy that will most likely backfire. His proposal of flat fees for small companies is even worse, charging a company with 1-2 employees $100/person is the worst example of a regressive tax if I ever saw one. This entire thing was Lenny's idea and his screw the big guy will most likely screw the small guy. He is one of the biggest beneficiaries. if anyone is externalizing costs it is him. He lives in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Mountain View and pays the lowest taxes. So who is really not paying their fair share...


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:44 pm

@Robyn

Because retired people who no longer depend on a paycheck or a good economy, who's days are spent staying at home, looking out their window, and complaining about the height of buildings, look at Google as an unwanted force of change, so anything that negatively impacts them is a good thing.


Posted by @Robyn
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:52 pm

@Robyn - this tax benefits residents if the money is used to repair the damage to our infrastructure that is caused by these big employers, especially city streets


Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm

PLEASE someone tell the accurate truth about how many $ companies of different sizes must pay for each employee. Is it the same head tax for each employee no matter how many employees a company has? or does the head tax vary.

The info is so confusing and I think the big companies i.e. Google etal, should bear the brunt of the tax program and small companies should be given a more lenient segment of the burden. A pro rata approach of diminishing costs vav small, independent sole proprietor businesses needs to be part of the tax structure.


Posted by small business owner
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 7, 2018 at 4:29 pm

The small business fee is proposed to increase over 300% from what I currently pay. I would seriously consider going out of business in 2020.


Posted by But what bactual number?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm

A 300% increase could be going from 1 dollar to 4 dollars.
How much is it really?


Posted by Bill
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 7, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Well, another tax for ALL business to absorb. When will it end? When more people leave than stay? Mountain View is now very anti business friendly. So, it raise the price of goods and services more for everybody... Mountain View should be ashamed of themselves. When did excessive taxes help in long run... so that Rome fell so will others that do the same.


Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

The detailed chart of the proposed tax may be found at Web Link

These numbers were developed at public meetings of a Council subcommittee and finalized, in compromise, with participation of the entire Council on June 5.


Posted by @ Comrade Lenny doing fine job
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Lenny had 2 goals the first year as a council member.
1-was to get rent control.
2-was to get a head tax on Google.

Lenny asked a reporter from the Voice to contact the New York Times, to do a story on the effects of gentrification that Google is causing in the city, increased traffic and higher rents. How do I know this, because the reporter sent out from the San Francisco office of the NYT, he and I had a very interesting talk how all this came about.

I will tell you another secret, Lenny can not stand the train horns, he hears them from his house. He devised a plan he could sell to the council members and the city by calling it a transit hub. What a great way to get the Castro Street train crossing closed and then there would be no more trains blowing their horns as they drive by Castro St. and Lenny will no longer hear them from his house.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by @Lenny
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Tell us, why does the city need more money? Give us specifics, not big words like CIP's and such, give us specifics.


Posted by Alan L.
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 7, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Actually, the tax, if aiming to redress the messed up traffic situation, should not be per employee. It should be per car. Does an employee going to work on his skateboard, or bicycle, or walking cause the community the same problems? If we can have stickers to allow single person driving in a commuter lane, we can have stickers on cars parked in certain high employee density areas. (Including private garages)with hefty fines for unstickered cars. Should car poolers pay two to eight times as much for their similar traffic demands as single occupant drivers? How about Google's buses? Give the matter some rational thought folks, not knee jerk solutions.


Posted by Rock Street Resident - We don't even get a neighborhood name! :(
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:18 pm

I'm concerned about this. I filled out the survey, as they were asking for input from residents, wondering how much we would support this tax. I cannot be the only one concerned about all the independent, smaller businesses. This is what concerns me:

"Small businesses would not face a per-employee fee; however, the cost for their business licenses would increase. This would cost $100 for businesses with one employee, $200 for two to 25 employees, and $400 for 26 to 50 employees.

Companies that exceed 50 workers would be required to pay a per-employee fee."

This "50" cap on employees affect many small businesses... like restaurants, cafes, etc. I don't think that's fair to the restaurants that are working hard to provide a service for us. Rent is already ridiculous. And many companies already offer their employees free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners... taking away business from local restaurants. And why would you need to increase their business license fees? What's the point? You'll already be receiving millions from the larger companies (if this passes). And many small businesses are already gone... their properties sold for redevelopment. This tax, needs to be relooked at and changed. Up the headcount to 100. Don't raise the business license fee, and if you do... not that much! It's been pointed out that the business license fee is currently around $34. That's a significant increase, especially on a small business that's trying to get its feet off the ground. :( Come on now... support your local community and local, independent businesses!!!


Posted by Resident
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Yes, Lenny is at it again, tax and more tax, this time get more from businesses. He forgets that they can leave and by the way does anyone really know how many employees Google has in Mtn View. California politicians haven't seen a tax they don't like, when will it end.
And we can thank him also for wanting to close Castro Street at the railroad crossing so he can sleep quietly. And now the next great idea, no more left turn out of downtown onto Central.


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 8, 2018 at 4:16 am

SRB is a registered user.

For context, a few data points that seem missing from this article.

This is not a new tax, there has been a business tax since 1954.

The current business license already has a headcount component for Manufacturers and R&D (source: Web Link .... with Google paying only $70 more than a sole proprietorship business with no employee.

The current $30 base fee has not changed since 1954. Adjusted for national inflation it would be over $270 in 2018 (source: Web Link

In contrast, the new proposed base fee ($100) is adjusted for only a fraction of that and the smallest businesses (generating less than $5K in gross revenue) are exempt.

Quite rich to read the quotes from Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Bay Area Council; two groups who peddled Regional Measure 3 -$1,000/year more in tolls for commuters many of whom can not afford to live anywhere close to Mountain View-. When it comes to taxes, these groups seem very NIMBY - No (Tax) In My (Corporate) Back Yard-




Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm

How are they proposing to know the number of employees? Companies don't tell and can easily not disclose everything. Did they even think about that?


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 9, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Thanks @SRB. Numbers are useful when talking about revenues (taxes), profits, and expenses (budgets etc.).

@small business owner. Yes, it is time to close up shop! If you are facing a staggering "300% increase", totaling $66, and cannot figure out how to pay it from future profits? You should close down shop. Really - you must be contributing so little to the GDP, that it doesn't matter.

[the maths $34->$100 is 294%, $34->$200 is 588%, $34->$400 is 1,176% ]

@do the math, I also appreciate your estimate of 0.07% per employee. "Number Sense" as it is called in school.


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