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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Regressive Business Tax: City Council Is Complicit

City Council's Defacto Claim:
Emeryville Is The Worst City Around, And Now We're Desperate Too

We don't rate, we're not worthy, we're terrible, why would anyone want to do business in a city as bad as Emeryville?
This has been the unstated but clear mantra from the city council manifest by the business license tax scheme it has championed for many years.

Business taxes in Emeryville are low...really low.  The low tax rate is further exacerbated by the infamous cap on taxation for all business income over $117,000 the city council has shepherded for the last several years.  No other city in the entire Bay Area has even remotely such a generous tax scheme for business, especially big business.
The only conclusions that can be reached as to why taxes are lower by an order of magnitude are two-fold: 1) The city council believes that Emeryville is so bad that we need to give away the store to have any chance to attract big business here or 2) they are pro-business ideologues. Either conclusion is unacceptable for us, the residents.

If the council only wanted to help attract business to our town, they could have simply offered the lowest tax rate, but to pile on the tax cap, worth millions of lost dollars, is something else altogether.

Now. against this backdrop,  the council would like to raise taxes to offset the terrible financial crisis at City Hall.  The message is that even while we're such a bad place for business to locate that we need to give ridiculously generous tax breaks for big business, also now we're desperate.

As the city council decides whether to place on the November ballot, a change to this irresponsible tax regime, residents would be wise to disregard any attempts to politicize this by any council members running for re-election also in November, as surly they will.  They'll tell us they support business paying their fair share.  But we must remember as we go to the polls, it is they that delivered to us and protected the current tax scheme.  We should bear in mind that the city council has let slip through our hands, hundreds of millions of dollars over the years in service to their absurdly pro-business tax scheme.

Here's your new park
While you read their coming re-election campaign literature, you should think about all the money lost due to this extreme tax code they are responsible for and all the parks they say they want and all the bicycle infrastructure and other amenities and how we now don't have the money for them.


  1. Council complicity or not, we've got to make sure we get rid of the business tax cap. That alonee will really help to make Emeryville solvent again.

  2. Yes, imagine if corporate entities were to be socially responsible and pay a fair share tax. Instead, they are busy asking for their property taxes to be reduced, and yet they pay nothing in business tax so to speak. You would think that after being given millions in subsidy through the redevelopment agency (we are one of the highest indebted cities in California), the business/corporate world would feel some compunction to step up and support our community and the state of California. Redevelopment takes away from services and schools, asking for property tax reductions takes away from services and schools--and the profits of these corporations--billions each quarter--think of all those additional zeros--billions! Will shame work as nothing else does?