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Oakland Measure T: Raising taxes for corporate giants, relief for small businesses

This is a 2-minute summary of Oakland’s Measure T on the November 8, 2022 ballot.

It’s a progressive rate structure that taxes businesses based on their yearly income, with the highest grossing businesses being taxed the highest.

If passed by a simple majority, Measure T would generate nearly $21 million for Oakland’s yearly tax revenue. The money would go to small business owners, many of whom are women and people of color.

Oakland currently follows a 20-year-old regressive tax rate. That means it taxes all businesses of the same category at the same rate. So small grocery stores pay the same tax rate as Whole Foods. Oakland’s Measure T would tax different sized businesses at different rates.

In addition to aiding small businesses, the funds generated by Measure T would go towards addressing homelessness, as well as street cleaning and repairs. The Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Oakland firefighters, and several community groups including Causa Justa and the Sierra Club support the bill.

Those against Measure T include Blue Sky, a consulting group which protects government agencies, and the Economic Institute, which advocates for the needs of low and middle-income workers. Opponents claim that the measure may result in the loss of over 1,000 jobs. Large businesses like Whole Foods are Oakland’s top employers. Raising taxes may cause companies to move elsewhere. Several companies left San Francisco after business taxes were raised there.

So let’s recap. A “yes” vote on Oakland’s Measure T means that the highest grossing Oakland businesses will be taxed the most, and small businesses will have lower taxes.

Voting “no” means that all businesses of the same type will continue to be taxed the same way.

That’s a brief take on Measure T.

Radio host, producer, and editor who recently graduate from the broadcasting program at San Francisco State University. His goal is to use media as a vehicle to incite positive change, bring awareness to leaders from marginalized communities, and create inspiring/educational content.