Mountain View considers business tax on largest companies: Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft

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The Mountain View City Council on Wednesday will meet to consider imposing a new tax on the city's largest employers including Google. 

The details are still being worked out -- but one scenario would have companies like Google Linkedin, Microsoft and Symantec paying more than $5 million more in taxes every year.  

The council will discuss a potential ballot measure asking voters if they support imposing a new business license tax on the city’s largest companies 

The added revenue -- between $5 and $10 million a year -- would go to pay for transportation improvements projects and support the city's housing needs.  

Critics argue a new tax could prompt companies to set up shop elsewhere or even make Google reconsider plans to expand its Mountain View headquarters.  

“While it might feel good for some to take a whack at big job creators, such taxes will only undermine our region's long-term economic health and competitiveness,” Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman wrote in a letter published in The Chronicle.

The business license tax has not increased since 1954.

San Francisco, Cupertino and East Palo Alto are all considering similar taxes on large local employers, which in Silicon Valley translates into tech companies, to offset growing inequality and overcrowding they blame on the industry that turned them into boomtowns, Bloomberg reported.

:Last week, Seattle levied an annual tax of about $50 million on big companies including Amazon to help solve the city's homeless problem. The tax measure, which charges $275 per employee for businesses that make at least $20 million a year,  passed unanimously. 

KTVU's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.