Cupertino postpones vote on ‘head tax’ on Apple employees

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Apple Park1
Cupertino decided to not raise additional taxes this year on employees working at Apple Park.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Cupertino’s city government decided to ask voters next year whether it should charge businesses a tax on every worker. Apple is the city’s largest employer, so most of the cost would have fallen on the iPhone maker.

The original plan, while vague, was to use the additional revenue to create more affordable housing options and improve Cupertino’s transit system.

A huge multinational corporation’s headquarters can really push up nearby home prices. This has clearly happened with Apple, as Zillow indicates the median cost of a home in Cupertino is $2,363,000.

Such headquarters can also strain the capacity of road systems. Apple Park has 14,200 parking spaces, for example.

Cupertino head tax waiting for next year

The California city’s council just voted to hold a special election in 2019 on whether to impose the “head tax.”  Previously, this vote had been tentatively scheduled for this fall.

The lone dissenting vote on the decision came from Councilman Barry Chang. “I think not only here, the big corporations in the entire nation, the corporations need to take up their fair share to help solve the problems we are facing now,” he told The Mercury News. “So that’s why this issue needs to be done and needs to be done now instead of waiting.”

Cupertino isn’t the only municipality wresting with this issue. Seattle instituted a similar “head tax” in May but then repealed it earlier this month. Amazon and Starbucks, who both have their corporate headquarters in the city, lobbied heavily against the tax.