BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
East Palo Alto City Council has decided to put a tax on businesses on the November ballot, making it the second mid-Peninsula city to ask voters to consider a so-called tech tax.
The tax, if it receives two-thirds of the vote, will be imposed on office space in the city at $2.50 per square foot.
Amazon is the only technology company of any size in East Palo Alto. It has offices in the University Circle office complex, where the Four Seasons Hotel is located west of Highway 101, and another building at University Avenue and Donohoe Street on the east side of 101.
The council on Tuesday (July 31) unanimously decided to put the measure on the ballot.
The tax is expected to bring in about $1.6 million a year.
At least 35%, or $560,000, would be spent on building low-income housing, a maximum of 15%, or $240,000, would pay for the city’s staffing costs for implementing the tax, and the remainder would fund more job training for residents.
The job training programs will likely be focused on tech and building trades.
The measure will also give council the ability to lower the tax or raise it back to $2.50.
If there is an economic downturn, for example, council can reduce the tax or stop collecting it altogether, according to Mayor Ruben Abrica.
Mountain View plans to ask voters to approve a “head tax” on large employers in the city. The tax applied to each employee would cost Google, the city’s largest employer, $3.3 million a year.
Cupertino’s City Council on Tuesday dropped plans to ask voters to tax Apple and other large employers based on their headcount.
The tax would have raised up to $10 million a year and been spent on transportation projects.