Cupertino wants to squeeze extra taxes out of Apple

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Headcount tax would charge Apple for every employee in Cupertino.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Cupertino could introduce a tax that would charge Apple an additional fee based on its number of employees. The city has hired a firm to poll residents asking their thoughts on such a tax, and how it should be spent.

At present, Apple has upwards of 25,000 employees in the Bay Area, although it’s not clear how many of these are specifically based in Cupertino. Apple is Cupertino’s largest employer, and has been for many years.

Cupertino is not the only one

The idea of taxing tech giants in this way is not unique to Cupertino and Apple. Last week, Amazon hometown Seattle passed a tax that will charge the company (and any others which make more than $20 million per year there) $275 per employee. San Jose, Redwood City and Sunnvyale all have similar headcount taxes. Mountain View is additionally considering implementing such a tax, which could cost Google $5 million. This money will reportedly be used for transportation or housing.

However, some have argued that this is the wrong approach. In a recent letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council (a public policy advocacy group of which Apple is a member), wrote that:

“While it might feel good for some to take a whack at big job creators, such taxes will only undermine our region’s long-term economic health and competitiveness. It creates a piecemeal system of anti-jobs taxation that pushes problems to other cities and discourages the kind of investment, innovation and entrepreneurialism that have given us record low unemployment. Meanwhile, it will do almost nothing to solve the problems of housing and traffic that extend far beyond any one city’s immediate borders.”

Should such a tax go ahead in Cupertino, it’s not clear how much it could cost Apple. In 2016, then-Cupertino mayor and now councilman Barry Chang pushed for a tax of $1,000 per employee on large companies. However, this proposal was met with opposition from businesses and wound up stalling.

Source: SF Chronicle