Santa Clara City Council Puts Major Increase in Business License Head Tax on the November Ballot

By Robert Haugh

The Santa Clara City Council put a major increase on the business license tax. It hasn’t been raised since 1992.

Currently, it’s one of the lowest in the area. That’s why Santa Cara is considered business friendly.

If a majority of Mission City voters approve the tax on the November ballot, Santa Clara businesses will pay the City $45 per employee or a “head tax.”

It’s called the “Flat Tax” in the chart below.

The Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce (formerly known as the Santa Clara Chamber) opposes the tax.

“The economy is in a difficult place right now,” said Chamber President and CEO Christian Malesic. “We don’t know if there’s going to be a recession.”

He offered to work with the City to find an increase that would be less harmful to Santa Clara businesses and wait for the 2024 ballot.

The Bay Area Council (BAC), the largest business group in the region, agreed with the Chamber.

“Just about every large employer is re-evaluating long-term strategic growth, said Alex Torres, the BAC’s Director of State Government Relations.

Former City Councilmember Teresa O’Neill is now a Chamber board member. She suggested looking at alternatives to a dramatic increase in the business license tax.

“We need to make sure that the companies in this City pay their property taxes,” said O’Neill.

“And I would really implore those of you on the Council who have really strong relationships with the 49er football team: please get them to pay their fair share of property taxes.”

But the 49er Five decided to go the route of increasing taxes on local businesses.

On a 5-2 vote, the Council placed the issue on the November 2022 ballot.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe voted against it.

They said Santa Clara businesses shouldn’t be burdened by more taxes during an uncertain economic time.

Mission City voters will decide the issue in a few months.

Editor’s Note: The 49er Five are Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.

Jed York spent $3 million in November 2020 to elect Becker, Jain and Park. They were previously 0-6 in Santa Clara elections. Chahal and Hardy have received gifts from the team recently without reporting them.

The 49er Five meet with the team on an almost weekly basis and have voted to help the team win millions of dollars in concessions from the City since December 2020.


  1. How ironic that Anthony Becker was the maker of a motion to spend $600,000 to rebuild the Lawn Bowling clubhouse at Central Park, which has less than 20 members, which was the same council meeting a few weeks ago, that Sud’s was crowing over the need for a “head tax” on Santa Clara businesses because the city is broke. With folks like Becker included in the 49er 5, and running our city government, no wonder the city is broke.

    “Just more jive, from the 49er Five”

  2. Hearing that layoffs will need to happen if the City doesn’t get at least $9 million dollars out of our businesses….I was wondering…if the 49ers had paid us all they “legally” owed us, how much of that would be in the general fund and reduce our deficit. If five members did not fire the City Attorney, at the request of Jed York, because he was trying to help the City get this money, we would not be looking at a request for almost $1 million dollars to pay for an “acting attorney.” What is the recruiting cost total now for a new attorney and city manager? And why is it so hard to recruit them? The citizens of this city need to pay attention to what is going on. Let’s run a total of what could be in the general fund if promises were kept and HR decisions made more fiscally responsible. Our general fund has not received any money in the last three years…….let’s figure out why (not including the pandemic).

  3. I guess Jed wants a higher business tax for Santa Clara. At least that is what the puppets voted for. Jed’s hand can reach really far up there.

    I’m sure the traitors like it.

    • Raj was crowing about this idea he had in 2019 but no one listened. He sounds like Al Gore who claimed to invent everything including pants.

    • Citizens have been informed by interim city attorney Steve Ngo that he is the gatekeeper for citizen concerned. Citizens can no longer call people. Imagine this under don von

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