Oakland – The Oakland City Council voted unanimously to send a new Oakland business tax structure law into motion by placing a measure on the November 2022 ballot.

Oakland’s business tax structure has not seen a major overhaul in almost forty years. The Oakland City Council was united in its desire to see a progressive, equitable business tax structure which cuts taxes to small businesses while holding large corporations accountable for their fair share. Before its recess, the City Council will also vote to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission responsible for collaborating with stakeholders, examining Oakland’s economic landscape, and ultimately recommending updated rates for the Council to consider. Councilmember Sheng Thao was proud to join Councilmember Dan Kalb and lead author Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas in introducing this groundbreaking progressive measure.

“The City of Oakland cannot afford to carry on with an outdated, regressive business tax structure.” stated Councilmember Thao,“Today, the Council has taken a bold step toward making Oakland a welcoming place for small businesses, while inviting our larger corporations to make a deeper investment from which all Oaklanders will benefit. Once implemented, this new progressive tax structure will help guide Oakland through this economic crisis and nurture the small business growth that will define the City.”

Councilmembers Bas, Thao, and Kalb partnered with community leaders, small business owners, and public sector unions including city workers and the Oakland Firefighters on developing this legislation. The measure could raise tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for Oakland, potentially funding much needed essential city services.

“As the District 4 Councilmember I know that wildfire prevention, street safety and maintenance, public safety, park maintenance, small business support, and so many other public services have room to improve,” said Councilmember Sheng Thao, “I want to ensure that we can not only maintain these services but also expand them as we recover from this economic downturn. Oakland is a bright, vibrant, and culturally rich city that deserves city services that celebrate and support these traits.”

The Lift Up Oakland Coalition Issues A Statement

The Lift Up Oakland Coalition is made up of the Alameda Labor Council; ACCE Action; SEIU Local 1021; Oakland Rising; IFPTE Local 21; EBASE; and IAFF Local 55. It issued this statement via press release to Zennie62Media:

There is broad consensus that we must modernize Oakland’s Business Tax. By moving this measure forward with a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study and recommend the updated tax structure and rates, we are looking forward to a policy that is thoughtful and meets the implementation deadline of 2023.

We want to thank the author Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas and co-sponsors Councilmembers Sheng Thao, Dan Kalb and Council President Rebecca Kaplan their work has persuaded a majority of the council to move forward and find the best business tax structure for Oakland.

There is no question about the need to modernize the business tax; any concerns expressed have been about process. The Blue Ribbon Task Force and the eighteen months it has to work on the issues answers any questions put to rest these concerns. Long after the current crisis and hopefully the recovery.

We will not give up on this issue and will push it to completion. It is vital to the future of our city and our communities.

Legislation to establish the creation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force will be heard at next week’s July 21st Council meeting.