By Robert Haugh
The City Council is considering a huge increase to the business license tax plus a new business head tax.
Last night, they debated putting a measure on the November ballot for voters to decide.
“Santa Clara is the most business-friendly city in the entire valley, said Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce (SVCCC) President and CEO Christian Malesic.
“But what this vote subjects you to do is turn it into the least business-friendly city in the entire valley.”
Malesic said that small businesses (50 employees) would see the tax increase by 905 percent. The largest business would see their business license tax increase 70,000 percent.
Malesic and Councilmembers agreed that the business license tax is too low and it has not been increased since 1992.
The debate is about how much to increase it.
Councilmember Raj Chahal has pushed for higher business taxes for years. Earlier this year, he listed about a dozen companies that he wanted to tax an extra million dollars each annually.
Chahal disputed Malesic and said that he’s talked to major companies and they’re fine with the large increase in taxes.
But Councilmember Kevin Park didn’t see it that way. “The business tax is supposed to be supportive of the city and not punitive for businesses.”
Park wants to look at different methods that treat businesses fairly.
Councilmember Suds Jain was not happy with Park’s approach. “We are at code freeze. There’s no more features Kevin. Understand that,” Jain lectured Park.
“I don’t want to become the unfriendly city.” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor. I’d rather work with our local businesses rather than burden them or fight them. Their success helps us. But their failure will hurt the entire city.”
The Council created a task force to work with Malesic to return next week with alternative solutions.
This is a developing story.
Editor’s Note: News on other Council agenda items coming later this week.