Cupertino Mayor slams Apple, says it is “abusing” the city by not paying taxes
Apple has found itself in yet another dispute once again. This time it is the mayor of the city, Barry Chang who has accused the tech giant of not pulling its weight when it comes to paying taxes and not giving back to the community as much as it should.
In an interview with The Guardian, Chang talks about how Apple has turned to unfair practices to avoid paying taxes and isn’t helping with the city’s failing infrastructure and lack of funding for public projects. Also, Silicon Valley’s boom has strong effects on surrounding cities in California, particularly in terms of traffic congestion and affordable housing.
Chang went as far as blasting Apple for turning to offshore accounts to dodge taxes. 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.
“They’re making profit, and they should share the responsibility for our city, but they won’t,” Chang said. “They abuse us. Apple is not wiling to pay a dime.”
“I’m not going to back down. Raising taxes is not popular, but I’m not afraid. We are the center of technology, and our public transit system is old and embarrassing. And the politicians have no backbone. They get scared.”
Chang told The Guardian he lately proposed that Apple should give the city $100 million to improve the infrastructure in Cupertino. However, he failed to get even a single “yes” vote from the three council members.
The mayor then went on to say that these council members don’t want to offend Apple, which is certainly among the biggest companies headquartered in the city.
“Apple talks to them, and they won’t vote against Apple,” he said. “This is the fact.”
At one council meeting, a few of the local citizens protested due to lack of funding for projects, Chang added. The residents even crumpled up meeting agenda papers and threw them.
“They abuse us,” he said, referring to how Apple is conducting its business in the city.
However, a report from Fortune says that Apple reiterated that it is, in fact, the biggest taxpayer in the city, adding the company is paying millions of dollars to the city every year. According to The Verge, the company claimed that it pays tens of millions of dollars in additional sales and property taxes to the city of Cupertino.
Also, the completion of its new Spaceship campus also known as Apple Campus 2 will generate billions of dollars for local businesses. The campus is expected to house 12,000 employees and will cover 2.8 million square feet of office space in the area. It is expected to open in 2017. Apart from building sidewalk and street improvements, it is also putting up a sound wall in an effort to reduce noise along the northern part of Interstate 280.
On the other hand, Chang responded on the city of Cupertino website citing several factual errors reported in a recent story by The Guardian.
“I was shocked and dismayed to see a recent article quoting me with words I never used and describing situations that never happened,” said Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang.
“I feel very strongly about combating traffic,” said Mayor Chang. The mayor has previously promoted the idea that large companies that contribute to traffic problems should also contribute to traffic solutions. The Mayor was emphatic that, “other situations reported in the article absolutely have no bearing on anything that I may have said or anything that has happened in this community.”
“The reporter clearly misunderstood. My concerns and the concerns of this city council are well documented.”