SUNNYVALE (KPIX 5) – As cities in Silicon Valley consider taxes targeting giant tech companies, officials in Sunnyvale are looking at their own tax proposal.
Companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook are being blamed for contributing to the region’s horrendous traffic and sky-high-housing costs.
“You know, this is a regional issue,” Councilmember Michael Goldman told KPIX 5.
Goldman is calling for the companies to pay more taxes to help with community issues, something that is already happening in Seattle.
“Government is taxing to provide services,” Goldman said.
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Among the ideas, the tax could be used to pay for more shuttles to ease gridlock. Revenues could also be used to build housing or offer subsidies for low-income residents.
“It’s easy to understand where the cities are coming from,” said Russ Hancock of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “They’re struggling to find a budgetary means to address those challenges.”
Hancock says while it makes sense that cities are considering asking the businesses to pay up, he can also see why they might say no.
“If you are the companies, on the other hand, you’re thinking, how bad can this continue to get? It’s already very expensive to do business in the Bay Area,” Hancock said.
Goldman said the tax would apply to businesses, not just tech companies, with a large staff. The tax would also be on a sliding scale, which means businesses with more people would pay more.
“The growth is great. Most places in the country, the world, would love to have these problems,” the councilmember said. “But they’re problems and we have to address it.”
The idea has not yet been considered by the council. Officials in neighboring Mountain View and Cupertino are also looking into their own tax proposals.