California – Oakland Tax Changes Proposed to Help Small Businesses

OAKLAND — In an effort to help the city’s merchants and restaurants reeling from losses after almost three months of being shut down, some council members are proposing revamping the way small businesses are taxed.

Some of the tax burden would shift from small businesses to larger ones under the proposal announced Thursday at a news conference. It would lower taxes for small businesses such as local restaurants, retail and wholesale ones that generate $250,000 or less in revenue per year. In turn, those that make more revenue would be taxed at higher rates.

The tax change would have to be approved by voters. If the City Council agrees to place the measure on the November ballot and it passes, the new taxes wouldn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022, council member Nikki Fortunato Bas said.

The tax, titled “Lift Up Oakland,” would also raise “tens of millions” in city revenue and boost an estimated 24,000 small businesses in the city, Bas said.

The proposal is supported by local unions, such as Oakland Firefighters Local 55 and the Alameda County Central Labor Council. Firefighter union President Max Unger said this new revenue would help the department.

The proposal is scheduled to be taken up by the council’s rules and legislation committee when it next meets on June 22.

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Mercury News
By Angela Ruggiero
June 5, 2020