CONTACT: Luke Thibault, 760-534-9958, firstname.lastname@example.org
Invest in Our Oakland Coalition Kicks Off Campaign to Pass Oakland’s First Progressive Business Tax
Coalition of labor unions, small business owners, and community groups file citizen initiative, the Invest In Our Oakland Small Business Tax Relief Act
(Oakland, CA) — It’s time for the City of Oakland to join other Bay Area cities and modernize its regressive business tax structure with a progressive version. The Invest In Our Oakland Small Business Tax Relief Act would cut taxes for over 20,000 small and midsize businesses, will not increase taxes on homeowners, and would raise over $40 million to fund essential city services. The measure will ask the largest corporations in Oakland to pay their fair share for vital services.
The Invest in Our Oakland campaign is filing the language of an initiative this week so that it can start collecting signatures in February to place it on the November 2022 election ballot. To qualify the measure the coalition will have to gather 25,311 valid signatures in 180 days. On Tuesday, January 18th, the groups and leaders anchoring the Invest In Our Oakland campaign hosted a press conference to launch this effort. Click here to view a recording of the press conference.
“I’m proud to stand with the Invest in Our Oakland coalition. Everyone in Oakland city government agrees: Oakland needs to update its out-dated, over twenty year old regressive tax structure. Well-resourced and well-run cities with clean and safe streets, where people have stable and dignified housing, and where kids have access to rec centers and libraries—these are the cities where our communities can thrive, and that are attractive for businesses,” said Nikki Fortunato Bas.
“What I want to see with the Invest in Our Oakland Act, is for Oakland’s largest businesses, many of whom have made record profits during the pandemic, to work as partners in a relationship with our entire city to pay their fair share and make sure that Oakland residents have clean streets and all of the services that they currently pay for. Historically, the burden of these services has been on homeowners, and I don’t think that’s fair,” said Carroll Fife.
“Decades of disinvestment mean that we may not always be able to respond as quickly as the citizens of Oakland deserve. A progressive business tax means stopping that slide into dysfunction. A progressive business tax means that small fires stay small, that our loved ones get paramedic services when they need it, and that when somebody in crisis calls 911 there will be an answer on the other end of that phone and that you will know for certain that a fire engine is going to flip on its siren and head your way. A progressive business tax means that when you need us, your Oakland firefighters will be there for you,” said Oakland Firefighters IAFF Local 55 President Zac Unger.
“The potholes you see on the streets are there because we have holes in the teams that fill them. In critical departments we have a vacancy rate of 20% or greater. Across the city, there are over 584 job positions that are unfilled. This understaffing results in vital city services going undone. With increased funding from the Invest in Our Oakland Act, we’ll be able to invest in good jobs that provide services Oaklanders need in education, housing, public safety, first responders, clean streets, bike lanes, and more,” said SEIU 1021 Oakland Chapter President Felipe Cuevas.
“My small business has been in operation for ten years in Oakland. Being taxed the same amount of money as large corporations just isn’t fair. Small businesses count on well-funded city services as much as residents. The Invest in Our Oakland Act will be a huge plus for residents as well as small business owners like myself,” said Merika Reagan, Owner/Operator of City Hikes Dog Walking & Pet Sitting.
List of organizations and individuals that are supporting the Invest In Our Oakland campaign as of January 18th, 2022:
- SEIU Local 1021
- IFPTE Local 21
- IAFF Local 55
- Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy
- Parent Voices Oakland
- Oakland Rising
- Nikki Fortunato Bas
- Carroll Fife