The Palo Alto Business Coalition, which is comprised of Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), Palo Alto Chamber and NAIOP Silicon Valley, continue to discuss the City of Palo Alto’s poll results and individual business interest in waging a campaign against the proposed tax increase.

The Chamber and SVLG are talking to individual members to discuss the next steps which will involve fundraising. The City of Palo Alto has released its poll results and they would present it to the Finance Committee of the City Council on Tuesday, January 18th at 6 pm.  View the agenda and the packet.

The findings of the survey per city’s consultant were:
  • The mood of the City continues to be mixed, as it is in many cities around region. 
  • A majority rates City government’s performance as “excellent” or “good” (54%). 
  • The cost of housing and homelessness remain the top two concerns; concern about crime is on the rise, while concern about traffic and parking has (not surprisingly) declined. 
  • Three in five back the business license tax concept we tested, which – pending a more detailed exploration of measure structure – indicates viability; a measure ratifying utility fund transfers polls at 60% and is viable. 
  • In contrast, an increase in the UUT polls at only 46%, below the level needed for viability.
  • The City might continue to consider the two viable measures, with future polling to determine whether proceeding with both is advised, including the order of ballot placement. 
  • Voters see maintaining basic services as the strongest rationale for placing a tax measure on the ballot. They are most enthusiastic about allocating funding toward fire staffing, disaster preparedness, affordable housing, and outreach to the unhoused. 

The City Council’s interest in raising as much money as possible within their winnable margins would most likely include a tax rate of 1.5-2% with exemptions for small businesses and grocery stores.

If you have any questions, please contact NAIOP Silicon Valley or Edesa Bitbadal, NAIOP Silicon Valley’s Chief Public Policy Strategist at [email protected].