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Head Tax Approved for Transit Programs

by Scott Donald, Irvine, November 2018

 

Voters in Mountain View, California approved an employee "head tax" on Google and other businesses by a margin of over 69%.

 

Measure P

 

Measure P authorizes Mountain View to tax businesses per employee, depending on their size. Most of the money will pay for transit projects.

 

Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel said the new tax revenue is needed to help alleviate traffic congestion and a housing shortage, which have been exacerbated by an enormous work force and continued tech growth in Silicon Valley.

 

How the Tax is Calculated

 

Measure P will apply an annual per-employee tax on businesses based on the average number of employees over the previous four quarters.

 

Businesses with 50 or fewer employees would pay a flat fee of between $100 and $400 for business registration and licensing. Businesses with more than 50 employees would also pay a flat fee ranging from $400 for those with between 51 and 500 employees up to $584,150 for businesses with over 5,000 employees. In addition to these fees, businesses with over 50 employees will pay a tax of $75 to $150 per employee based on the company's size.

 

As of 2018, Mountain View's largest employer and only business with over 5,000 employees is Google, with 23,324 employees according to city data. Revenue from the tax will go into the city's general fund. The head tax is scheduled to phase in over two years, starting in 2020.