It’s no secret that Silicon Valley’s boom has strong effects on surrounding cities in California, particularly in terms of traffic congestion and affordable housing. Now, the mayor of the city home to one of the world’s richest companies says Apple should be paying more in taxes.
Mayor Barry Chang of Cupertino says the iPhone-maker isn’t helping with the city’s failing infrastructure and lack of funding for public projects, according to the Guardian. Chang says when he went to Apple’s campus three years ago, he was surrounded by Apple’s security team and was escorted off the property.
“They said ‘you cannot come in, you’re not invited,'” Chang told the Guardian. “After that, I left and have not gone back.”
Cupertino is home to approximately 60,000 people, and some want development to end to soothe traffic and noise concerns. Chang doesn’t agree — he’s pro-development, but he believes the solution is for Apple to pay higher taxes.
“In the meantime, Apple is not willing to pay a dime. They’re making profit, and they should share the responsibility for our city, but they won’t. They abuse us.”
Apple paid $9.2 million in tax revenue from 2012 to 2013, which amounts to 18 percent of Cupertino’s general fund budget. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, Apple protects itself from paying about 35 percent of the federal corporate tax rate by storing cash in offshore shell accounts.
Chang, who’s running for California’s state assembly, is under threat of a recall by the Cupertino Citizens for Sensible Growth, who say the mayor is failing “to fulfill his fiduciary duty to Cupertino citizens.”
To counter these allegations and to bring more funding in from these big-name companies, Chang wants Apple to pay $100 million to improve city infrastructure, seeing as how the tech giant is building a massive new campus for its employees. Chang only needed one yes vote — but he failed.
“Apple is such a big company here. The council members don’t want to offend them. Apple talks to them, and they won’t vote against Apple,” Chang said. “This is the fact.
The mayor said people have been crumpling city council meeting agendas and throwing them, complaining about the lack of funding for public projects.
“In the meantime, Apple is not willing to pay a dime,” he said. “They’re making profit, and they should share the responsibility for our city, but they won’t. They abuse us.”
He also tried to organize a protest outside Apple’s headquarters, but it failed to materialize.
“Apple has a pretty good image,” he said. “No one wanted to go.”
Now, Chang is working on a legislative tax proposal to charge business owners with more than 100 employees to pay $1,000 per employee to the city.