In the wake of Seattle’s action to adopt a $275 “Head Tax” which enacted a per-employee tax on large businesses to fund homelessness services and programs for affordable housing , both the Cupertino and Mountain View Councils have announced plans to study a similar tax. San Jose and Sunnyvale already have similar business taxes in place, though neither of these communities uses the tax revenue collected for affordable housing programs..
In Mountain View, officials are looking to place an initiative on the November ballot, which is expected to raise an estimated $10 million annually. While Seattle’s tax was directed to housing programs, initial discussions by the Mountain View City Council have suggested that the tax revenue would be used for transportation projects.
In Cupertino, elected officials are polling residents to determine interest in a similar tax, and how any tax revenue collected should be used. While housing was raised as a potential target, we are not sure that housing would eventually be on the list of potential beneficiaries.
More to come on whether these tax proposals will go to the voters, whether they will get the needed votes, and whether other cities will join in and adopt similar taxes.