Mountain View pursues business tax for transportation

On Tuesday, the Mountain View Council voted unanimously to place two tax measures on the November ballot: an update to the business license tax raising over $6,000,000 per year for transportation, and a cannabis tax.

While the business tax will be a general tax (which requires a voter approval of 50%) the council plans to adopt a nonbinding resolution stating an intent to invest most of the money in transportation infrastructure and operations.

For small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, the tax would be set at flat fees of $100, $200, or $400. Above 50 employees, there are graduated tiers based on the number of employees. The largest employer (Google/Alphabet) will pay $150 per employee per year for employees beyond 5,000, and would generate a bit over half of the revenue.

The final decisions to put the taxes on the ballot, and the resolution on the council’s purposes for the tax, is scheduled for June 26 after a last round of polling. Priorities identified for the business tax include a set of transportation projects including:

* Automated Guideway Transit connecting the downtown transit center to North Bayshore
* Two rail/road grade separations (Rengstorff Avenue and Castro Street)
* Downtown Transit Center improvements
* Bike/pedestrian improvements
* Bernardo Avenue undercrossing
* Community shuttle
* Connecting the NASA light rail station to North Bayshore
* New Charleston Road undercrossing

Mountain View Council also voted to put gross receipts tax of up to 9% for cannabis on the ballot, in line with the city’s plans to allow sales of the newly legal product.