Two tax measures poised to raise about $7 million in annual revenue for Mountain View won easily on Election Day. The business license tax update, Measure P, is winning by a comfortable 69.2 percent majority; meanwhile Measure Q, the city's proposed tax on cannabis retail sales, won by a landslide with 81.1 percent approval.
The Measure P business license tax drew particular interest the Nov. 6 election since it was designed to tax the city's largest employers, particularly tech companies like Google.
The proposed tax is expected to raise about $5.9 million annually for Mountain View by levying a new system of staggered fees based on the size of a company's workforce. In basic terms, businesses with more workers would pay more while some small vendors could see a reduction. City officials plan to put that money toward various transportation projects, including an automated transit system linking the city's downtown to North Bayshore.
By far the city's largest employer, Google is slated to pay more than $3.5 million annually, or more than half the total fees expected to be collected. The company staffs more than 23,000 employees in Mountain View.
A full breakdown of how much each business is expected to pay under the new fee structure can be found here.
The new tax's passage will surely turn some heads, especially among other Silicon Valley cities with their own cohorts of tech companies. Officials with the city of Cupertino were mulling a similar measure, but they held off, possibly to take it up again in the future.
Measure P faced little in the way of opposition. The city's Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group were both lukewarm to the idea, but they declined to wage any direct opposition campaign.
Similarly, there was little in the way of opposition to Measure Q, the tax on cannabis retail shops. The measure charges up up to a 9 percent fee on all cannabis sales, which city officials expect to generate $1 million annually. While some Mountain View neighborhoods were emphatically against marijuana retail sales within the city, the proposal to tax the drug apparently was something that pretty much everyone could agree on.