Apple could get hit with employer tax in Cupertino

“Cupertino is exploring a tax on Apple and other companies based on the size of their workforce,” Wendy Lee reports for The San Francisco Chronicle. “The tax would probably be structured similar to a proposal in Mountain View, said David Brandt, Cupertino’s city manager. Cupertino has paid a firm to begin polling residents about the tax and how any revenue from it should be spent, Brandt said.”

“Mountain View is considering a head-count tax that could raise $10 million — of which Google would pay about half — under one scenario. The city could use the revenue for transportation or housing,” Lee reports. “In both Mountain View and Cupertino, the city councils would need to approve placing the item on the ballot. Then it would be up to voters.”

“How much money Cupertino would raise through an employer tax is still to be determined,” Lee reports. “Officials from the Bay Area Council, a public policy advocacy group that counts Apple as a member, oppose head-count taxes. ‘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,’ council CEO Jim Wunderman wrote in a letter published in The Chronicle.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Leave it to the Cupertino City Council to attempt milking the golden goose.

Speaking of foul, er, fowl: Apple’s now a sitting duck for such, uh, pieces of legislation. It’s not like they’re going to abandon their brand new $5 billion glass doughnut, The Colossal Distraction, with its so-perfect-there-was-no-time-left-for-core-products door handles.

Amazon suspends construction in Seattle while the city considers a new per-employee tax – May 2, 2018
Apple again expands downtown Seattle engineering center – April 17, 2018
Apple rumored to be taking big piece of Seattle-area office market in expansion – August 12, 2016
Apple buys machine-learning startup Turi for $200 million – August 6, 2016
Apple quietly buys Seattle firm to expand cloud offerings – November 4, 2014


  1. Democrats are destroying our state (California). The latest? Free health care for Illegal aliens. (MediCAL) Hey everybody, bring your wallet when you visit. Gas is around $4.29 a gallon now! Bring your family to Disneyland! Take out a second mortgage beforehand though, cause a family of 4 going to Disney will run you about $2,000. Instead of California seceding from the nation, it should be the other way around. Sell California back to Mexico!

    1. One good thing about high prices for places like Disneyland and Disney World: It keeps the riff-raff out. And, with what seems like half of Mexico traipsing around SoCal, that’s nice to have at Disneyland.

    2. No Democrats are not destroying California.

      When Jerry Brown took over as Governor the state was a fiscal basket case. He combined tax increases with tight spending controls to not only balance the budget, but build a surplus for a future downturn.

      Next, the economic engine that is California has continued to prosper and grow. About 4.35 Million Non-Farm civil sector jobs have been created in California under his tenure.

      If you want to geek out on the stats regarding employment here it is in PDF format

      Click to access Employment-Highlights.pdf

      California as compared to the nation has provided about 20% of GDP growth in the US since 2010- significantly above other states.

      This action is being taken by a local government- not the state. Under Governor Brown, there has been more than a little streamlining of regulatory burden in many areas.

      Conservatives love to bitch about California, but they come out to gather money for their campaigns.

      1. Greg – Don’t waste your breath. Those on the right are still claiming that California is a total disaster area, as opposed to what’s now the world’s FIFTH largest economy in the world. (Even taking into account our high cost of living, we’re still doing just fine).

        As for free health care, I’d rather pay hundreds for regular check-ups than pay thousands for ER visits. You pay one way or another, but providing health care for everyone is actually a lot cheaper than not providing health care for everyone.

        And, frankly, who better to pay for infrastructure than giant corporations taking in billions in profits? Apple, Google and Amazon can all afford their fair share, especially with the federal cut in corporate taxes.

        1. It’s funny to watch a couple California Libtards say how wonderful Jerry Brown and California are.

          While taxpayer leave in droves as illegals flood the state. No wonder they tried to introduce an exit tax. Very high taxes, high housing costs and just like every other libtard state plenty of handouts at tax payers expense. The sad part they are moving to low cost red states and trying to replicate the California model, shows how dumb libtards are.

          $400 billion in debt and climbing, Taxes skyrocketing. I guess they forgot about Jerry’s tax increases and backdoor legalization of illegal alien voting.

          $400 billion and debt, $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities that Brown is robbing from the pensioners while giving free money to illegal aliens and people who prefer to collect free money. Money that should have put in the pension system rather then be used to purchase votes.

          And the libtards here talk about a “surplus” for the future. You’d have to be blind, deaf and stupid to think a “surplus” exists or will anywhere in the near future when California is $500 billion in the whole.

        2. California was the 6th largest economy in the world back when I was kid in the ’60s. I would argue that we’d have scaled to better than 5th in the almost 60 years since then if not for the iron grip of Democrats in our state and their poor financial policies. Even the article you posted quotes the CSU economics professor as saying, “…despite high taxes and cumbersome government regulations, more people are coming into the state. And that’s the point. California thrives despite the bad government, not because of it. And don’t forget that just a handful of businesses are responsible for the growth reported (Apple, Google).
          These shiny economic growth stories fed to the press from Sacramento always leave out the shitstorm of debt that has been accrued. Here are the debt numbers from today’s CA Treasurer:
          State: $13.6 Billion
          Counties: $9.3 Billion
          Cities: $11.2 Billion
          K-14 Schools: $12.9 Billion
          UC & CSU Universities: $2.8 Billion
          Special Districts; $9.4 Billion
          Other: $10 Billion

          That is one huge problem for anyone paying attention. California is a great state, with a wealth of inherent, natural advantages that make it a place want to live. I’ve lived here my entire life and know it well for the place it was, the place it is now, and the place it could be. And I can attest to another line from the article you posted: “California’s strong economic performance … is driven by worker productivity…”. Yes, you have to be productive to afford living here.

          Back to original MDM article: This employee head tax is the latest scheme to pare down local debt. As most know, Seattle just tried to pull this on Amazon. $500/employee annual tax. Bezos shut down construction on their new headquarters. The city and Amazon eventually compromised at $250/employee. But mainly because Bezos was already committed to his building (but Bezos can recognize extortion when he see’s it). The bottom line question remains: How does taxing an employer for hiring a person make good economic sense. Doesn’t it serve the individual and the community for people to be employed? Seattle, or any other city may see a short term windfall, but I can guarantee you that Bezos won’t build anymore facilities in Seattle. Other companies effected by this will be having meetings in their board rooms to discuss relocation plans. It already costs employers a lot of money in fees and insurance for each employee they hire; it’s an increasing financial risk to give someone a job.

      2. DavGreg, there are a couple of things wrong in your post:

        1. I can’t tell where you are in the political spectrum because you are NOT merely spouting off vitriolic political generalities.

        2. And there are an awful lot of — what do you call them? — uhh… FACTS, I think.

  2. “so-perfect-there-was-no-time-left-for-core-products”
    Well, only for people that think anything other than iOS was Apple’s core products.

    Apple had and has plenty of time for CORE products. 🙂

  3. You have got to give credit where credit is due.

    The asswipe who thought of taxing companies based on the number of people they hire is a genius. He took one of the basic tenets of liberals (how do you punish success) and came up with a method I could never have dreamed of.

    Apple should have moved out of that leftist ghetto the moment they had the chance. They should have gotten the hell out of California.

    1. Exactly and that’s what will happen over time look at companies who are looking for a second headquarters in other parts of the country you don’t see auto manufacturers building in California. A Chevy Cruz would cost $100,000 and the Chevy nameplate is bad enough as it is. To tax company is based upon the number of employees that they have in a given state is absolutely absurd. Hopefully they all move out and let California collapse into the sea

    2. It might be worth considering just WHY Mountain View, Cupertino, and Seattle are considering these taxes. The high-tech employers are paying spectacularly high salaries, far above the previous average local wages. That drives up prices for nearly everything, but particularly housing. The median price of a home in Cupertino is $2,358,449; the average monthly rent for an apartment is $3176.

      People who are not making those high wages because they are working in other segments of the economy cannot afford those prices. Somebody has to repair the streets in Cupertino, sweep the floors, and staff the restaurants, and everybody will retire someday. All those people need to sleep somewhere, but they cannot find any place within their means.

      So, homelessness, crime, and associated social problems in these high-tech centers have risen just as spectacularly as rents. That inevitably results in higher costs for government, which need to be financed in some fashion.

      The question is, “Who will be paying for those higher costs?” Cupertino, Seattle, etc. could just raise their property tax rates, but that would make housing even less affordable. They could raise their sales tax, but that would disproportionately affect people with lower incomes who spend a higher proportion of their incomes on taxable items. What to do?

      One possibility is to tax the entities that created the problem by paying the outsized wages. If the companies can afford to pay people enough to live in multi-million dollar houses, they can afford to kick in towards the increased social costs for those who cannot afford any local housing without assistance.

      Can any of you suggest a better solution for the problem (and simply ignoring it doesn’t count)?

      1. Of course not. But if you want rants, over reaction, cant, bluster, naivety and plain old dumbness in a reality-free irony_desert….you’re in the right place.

      2. Maybe if you understood economics a little better you would consider more of the in-betweeen instead of jumping up and claiming a situation like this is a problem.

        First of all, these people can hire more personal workers (maids, gardeners, pool keepers, lawn service, wind cleaners, handymen, remodeling contractors) and these workers can demand a higher pay than before because one thing well-off people want is TRUSTED employees in their home.

        The fact that realtors are making more money off this along with builders, contractors and suppliers and each of these pay taxes at a higher rate when they make more.

        Property values that are inflated are a huge boon for taxes not to mention all the personal property taxes on high priced toys.

        So when you look for an answer to help the unemployed and homeless, the first thing you do is ENCOURAGE more businesses to come into an area to offer more jobs and you DISCOURAGE people from sitting around taking advantage of other’s hard work by being diligent on those qualified for social services (obviously the old, sick, mentally ill, disabled, and short term help to low-income families in a bind).

      3. I understand economics well enough to recognize that there is a free market in labor. “Maids, gardeners, pool keepers, lawn service, wind cleaners, and handymen” may demand higher wages, but they will not get them as long as there is somebody else desperate enough to work for minimum wage or below. California housing prices guarantee widespread desperation, and thus plenty of cheap labor.

        Somebody getting $20/hour for 40 hours/week will not make quite enough to pay the average Cupertino rent, and will have nothing left over for taxes, food, or clothing. No matter how many new businesses come into town, and no matter how many high-end jobs they offer, the rising water will not float all boats. It will drown those in the water without a yacht.

        I live outside Austin, and I can see them going the same way. Affordable housing is nearly unavailable, so most workers are forced to move farther and farther out into the suburbs. That creates traffic and air-quality problems that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Sleepy little country towns are being swamped by little boxes made out of ticky-tacky. Family farms are disappearing under subdivisions. The wildflowers that brought many people to Central Texas in years past are now mostly seen in highway medians. Growth without limits is not an unbounded blessing.

  4. Don’t kid yourself, consumers pay the tax increases in higher prices, and additionally buy less products. Or the company leaves the high tax area. Either way Cupertino loses if it is stupid enough to implement this terrible plan.

    1. So, imagine you are on the Cupertino City Council. The biggest problem the city faces is that the rate of inflation for housing costs is 10-15% per year (from a base where $2.5 million homes are already the 50th percentile), but median incomes are rising at perhaps a fifth that rate. That not only creates a huge set of social problems that impose direct costs on the city, but also makes it difficult to recruit and retain city employees. The city needs more money from somewhere.

      As a council member, you have two choices: (1) increase taxes on the individual city residents who will vote on your reelection, or (2) raise taxes on large corporations that will pass the increase along to their customers, 99.999% of whom live outside Cupertino and cannot vote against you. What do you do?

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