Apple is so big in Cupertino, California, that city council members don’t want to offend them, says city Mayor Barry Chang. The mayor is pushing Apple to pay more to the town, but has had little success, as a recent proposal didn’t win the support of city council members.
Chang proposed that Apple should give the city $100 million to improve its ageing infrastructure: that, in the light of the construction of Apple Campus 2 (nicknamed the “Death Star” or “The Spaceship”), which should be ready by the end of this year. Speaking with the Guardian, Chang highlighted the problems the City of Cupertino is facing, the aging infrastructure, crowded roads and noise, which prompted some in the city to try to put a stop to more development.
Chang believes this is the wrong direction: The city shouldn’t stop development, because it would hurt the regional economy. It should raise taxes on the wealthy companies such as Apple, instead. Hence, he came up with the proposal, which, ultimately, didn’t get a “yes” vote from council members.
Speaking with the Guardian, the Mayor mentioned a recent city council meeting in which some residents protested about the lack of funding for public projects:
“They ball up the paper and throw it, and they say ‘You’re making all the wrong decisions’,” Chang said. “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.”
According to an economic impact report, Apple paid $9.2 million to Cupertino in 2012 and 2013, which accounted for about 18% of the city’s general fund budget. Chang is now working on a proposal for a business employer tax that would make Apple (and similar companies) with more than 100 workers pay $1,000 per employee. From his perspective, this tax is less regressive than a higher sales tax.