A pair of developments have emerged today in Apple’s ongoing relationship with the Cupertino government. First and foremost, the Cupertino City Council is backing away from its plan of an employee “head tax” following opposition from Apple. Further, the city is reportedly in talks to build a Hyperloop that would run right by Apple Park…
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As reported by The WSJ, Cupertino officials were looking to raise as much as $10 million through its proposed “head tax,” which would tax large employers based on the number of employees they had. That proposal, however, will not make its way to the ballot this November, with the Cupertino City Council opting to wait until 2020 and work with Apple in the meantime.
Cupertino officials had intended the tax to raise as much as $10 million for transportation projects to help ease crippling traffic into the city, though they hadn’t developed a specific project or spending plan. Instead, they decided to take up the proposal in two years, for the 2020 ballot, giving the city time to work directly with Apple—Cupertino’s biggest employer—and other companies on developing transportation solutions, potentially new public-private funding models, and a spending plan.
Cupertino’s change of heart comes after Apple publicly voiced its opposition to the proposal earlier this week, saying that it had already spent more than $70 million on public issues such as transportation.
Meanwhile, Business Insider and the Silicon Valley Business Journal report on another topic of interest from last night’s City Council meeting in Cupertino. City Council member Barry Chang said at last night’s meeting that Cupertino is in discussions to build a Hyperloop in the city:
“We are talking to hyperloop to have a line, hopefully, along Stevens Creek from Diridon Station to DeAnza College,” Cupertino City Council member Barry Chang said at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Also at last night’s meeting, Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul explained that he would like to see Silicon Valley tech companies like Apple “heavily subsidize” the construction of such a Hyperloop, which would run through its own backyard:
But [Paul] said he believes there’s a strong possibility that Silicon Valley tech companies like Apple would “heavily subsidize” construction of a cutting-edge transportation solution in their own back yard and that no new tax should be imposed until that possibility is fleshed out.
“There could be very significant amounts of private sector funds willing just to invest in an early line so that, you know, that particular sector or company can use it as a bit of a showcase,” he said.
In a statement to Business Insider today, Paul was a bit less ambitious and said that discussions are in very early stages:
“It’s in a very early discussion phase. Right now we need to see what our options are,” Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul told Business Insider in an email. “Personally, I’d like to see forward-looking technology that is cost-effective to make and maintain.”
One of the issues at the heart of the originally proposed “head tax” was improving transportation throughout Cupertino and surrounding areas. Due to the ever-increasing cost of housing in the city, many Apple employees commute from surrounding areas, creating a significant traffic problem for the City of Cupertino. It now seems as if the city is looking towards other options to improve traffic, as opposed to the head tax – including a Hyperloop subsidized by Apple.