To deter yet another Silicon Valley City Tax, NAIOP Silicon Valley urges all members to call or email the Council Members of the City of Sunnyvale to discourage yet another tax without proper outreach with commercial property owners.

The City Council of Sunnyvale sponsored a study issue to explore a 2022 General Election ballot measure to modify the Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT). Staff presented a variety of potential tax structures and estimated impacts to RPTT revenue to Council on April 26, 2022. Council directed staff to explore moving forward with a general tax ballot measure to modify the RPTT, which included engaging a consultant to poll likely voters.

FM3 Conducted a poll in June with only 51% of voters agreeing to the RPTT tax with margin of error of 4%.  On July 12th, the City Council was presented with the polling results that were inconclusive and would barely pass by the voters.   That is why Staff makes no recommendation. Per staff, results of the polling are inconclusive and the question of whether there would likely be majority support falls within the margin of error for the survey given the sample size. The polling results do not indicate a high likelihood of either passage or failure. However, with a slightest of opposition, their tax initiative will fail.

City Council voted with a slim margin of 4-3 to direct staff to return to Council on July 26th with actions necessary to place a ballot measure on the November 2022 ballot to increase the Real Property Transfer Tax from $.55/$1,000 to $7.50/$1,000 for sales over $4 million.  They also requested for staff it to connect it to an index. Councilmembers Hendricks, Melton, Spitaleri voted against placing the tax increase on the ballot.

On Tuesday, July 26, 2022 staff will bring back the tax initiative to be voted on by the City Council. The Council cannot raise of create a transfer tax unless it is approved by the voters.

It is your time to call and let them know that:

  1. The City has not done any outreach with the stakeholders who would be impacted.
  2. The City is rushing a tax during inflation and economic uncertainty.
  3. To vote against the transfer tax and return next year with a comprehensive community outreach effort that would include all property owners.
  4. The City’s own polling shows that residents are not supportive of a tax increase for this election cycle: 51% approval with a margin of error of 4% is not reliable and should not be placed on the ballot.


Or email the City Councilmembers:

About NAIOP Silicon Valley:

Edesa Bitbadal, Chief Public Policy Strategist for NAIOPSV, prepares the Public Policy Update, like the one above, for our members and partners.  To learn more about the various taxes and public policy perspective, please contact Edesa Bitbadal.