It’s another day that ends in “y,” so that means another progressive boondoggle is upon us. Progressives have become so woke that they believe taxing employment will create prosperity for all. Forget fostering a pro-business environment; you just need to punish companies for hiring workers. That creates real wealth! It must be nice to live in a world where basic economics and common sense are abandoned for pipe dreams.
Mountain View to Tax Jobs
At a recent contentious city council meeting, Mountain View lawmakers unanimously supported a proposed jobs tax that targets private businesses. Dubbed the “Google Tax,” the employee levy will go before voters in November. Will Silicon Valley go down the same path as Seattle?
Under the proposal, businesses with two or more workers in the jurisdiction would pay a fee for each employee. Councilmembers agreed to a tiered tax system: the headcount charge increases with the size of the business. For example, a company with 60 employees would pay $75 for each worker, while a firm with 20,000 staffers would be forced to pay $150 each.
Officials estimate that the policy could raise as much as $5.9 million, and about half of that money would come from Google’s pockets since it maintains approximately 23,000 employees in the city.
But policymakers didn’t stop there. The cost for business licenses would jump from $34 to $75. It did give some enterprises a break: businesses with fewer than $5,000 in annual revenues are exempt.
The city council agreed to allocate the revenues to general funds, but several reports suggest that some of it will be earmarked for the city’s fledgling public transit system.
Officials rejected the media’s description of this initiative as a “Google Tax.”
Mountain View Councilmember Ken Rosenberg told his colleagues during a June 26 meeting that, “it’s really a business license update”:
“We keep couching this as a Google tax. We keep talking about it because it’s the largest head count here because it’s a head count tax. But really it’s a business license update.
Our business license fees are $30, and that’s weird. It’s weird because it hasn’t changed in decades, and it’s also weird because if we were updating it just for the rate of inflation we’d be asking for $275 roughly. And we’re not. It doesn’t seem like this is a really tough sell.”
Rosenberg’s assertion on the paucity of opposition seems to be correct. According to a city-commissioned survey, 60% of voters revealed they will choose “yes” on the ballot.
Other Cities Considering Jobs Tax
When Seattle approved – then repealed – its regressive jobs tax, other nearby municipalities were interested in adopting a similar policy. The socialist dream of wrecking employment may have died in Seattle, but there are several jurisdictions in the process of introducing such a levy.
For instance, Cupertino, California, recently acquiesced to study a headcount penalty before placing it on the November ballot. Mayor Darcy Paul thinks it will be welcomed in Apple’s hometown.
“It seems to me there is not as much pushback from your major entity,” Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul told the council. He is correct: there is unlikely to be much resistance. Let’s be honest: many voters are short-sighted, envious of success, or think taxation equals wealth. Sure, it’s Google today, but it may be another vilified group or evil industry tomorrow.
And, what happens should these entities flee in the same way Amazon is in the beginning stages of exiting Seattle?
Stop the Taxation
Benjamin Franklin’s maxim needs an update: in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and cockamamy progressivism.
Elementary economics tells us that the more you tax something, the less you get of it. The personal income tax will lead individuals to wonder if they really should work those five extra hours each week if it’s just going to be penalized anyway. A corporation may not expand its operations if they are only allowed to keep 60% of their profits.
In the end, the higher the tax, the less the production.
It is often said that government is slow and fights innovation. This is an incorrect supposition. The number of ways the state can tax you is quite ingenious. Esteemed representatives earning six figures a year – paid by you – have come up with a wide array of taxing schemes: from stealing portions of your labor to punishing you for what you put in your body. Now, leftist politicians want to reprimand entrepreneurs and corporate behemoths for hiring people.
Mark Twain was right: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
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