Business tax headed for the ballot

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto City Council members voted tonight (Aug. 1) to put a business tax on the November ballot at their meeting next week.

At the same time, they indicated they’ll abandon a second ballot measure that would allow profits from natural gas bills to be transferred to other places in the city budget.

Council members made no final decisions on either the business tax or the gas transfer in case business leaders come forward this week and agree to drop their opposition campaign in exchange for a lower tax rate. Negotiations between the two sides didn’t go anywhere this summer.

The gas transfer would bring in about $7 million per year, and the business tax would bring in more than $15 million, according to Christine Paras, the city’s assistant director of administrative services.

Council voted 5-2 to put the business tax on the Aug. 8 “consent calendar,” meaning it can be approved along with several other items without discussion. Councilwoman Alison Cormack and Councilman Greg Tanaka said they preferred to go with only the gas transfer measure because polling showed a business tax is at risk of failure.