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Richmond City Measure U: Business Tax Amendment

City skyline in Richmond, California
Creative Commons
City skyline in Richmond, California

This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Late last year, the Richmond City Council directed the city manager to explore ways of bringing in more tax revenue.   

You’ll see the fruits of those efforts on the ballot, in the form of Measure U.  

Measure U would amend Richmond’s business tax structure. Currently all businesses pay a flat tax of around 200 dollars per year. Plus an additional 46 dollars per employee.   

But if Measure U passes, the business tax structure would be based off of gross receipts . It’s an unattractive name….but basically it means the city will tax a company’s total revenue.  

Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated. The new tax rates would be split across five brackets. The higher the revenue, the higher the tax rate. Businesses making less than 250 thousand dollars a year are exempt, paying a simple 100 dollar flat rate.    

The proposed tax rates will depend on the type of business . For instance, cannabis and firearm stores will pay higher tax rates .  

Measure U is expected to bring in an additional 5 million dollars a year. Supporters such as the union group Lift Up Richmond , say this tackles the city’s structural budget deficit and funds crucial services.

The Richmond business community has pushed back against Measure U. They argue the city did not consult with business owners when drafting the ordinance. And worry it could drive businesses away, especially when so many are already struggling during the pandemic.   

So Richmond voters, a yes vote on Measure U would mean changing the business tax structure so that those who earn more would pay higher rates. A no vote would leave the current business tax structure based on number of employees, as is.   

For more election coverage go to KALW.org. Thanks for listening. I’m Andrew Garcia.

Hi! My name is Andrew Garcia (He/Him) and I am pursing a career in public radio as a audio producer/journalist.