As CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, I have spent countless evenings at City Council hearings across the valley to voice support for more homes near transit, jobs and services. It doesn’t matter what city I’m in, I often hear the same concerns.
This debate is currently underway in Palo Alto over Measure D, an affordable housing proposal for seniors on the Nov. 5 ballot. There, a nonprofit developer won approval to build 60 affordable apartments along with 12 single family homes.
The Council’s unanimous approval of the proposal reflects the understanding that affordable housing for seniors is sorely needed. Thanks to modern technology, people are living much longer and as a result, seniors will continue to make up a much greater share of our overall population. The proposal is close to El Camino Real and the types of transit and businesses that are needed by our aging population. In addition, the affordable housing proposal directs growth in an environmentally sustainable manner, building within our cities instead of suburban sprawl.
Palo Alto needs affordable homes for our senior citizens. Urge your friends and family in Palo Alto to vote yes on Measure D.
Here’s food for thought . . . Taxing Innovation Tempers Job Creation.
One of the most troubling elements of the Affordable Care Act, known also as Obamacare, was the tax imposed on America’s medical device companies. Since this $29 billion tax on innovation was passed in 2010, large numbers of Senate and House members, Democrats and Republicans, have spoken out against it. Sadly, unless this destructive tax is repealed, the damage remains. Allow me to count the ways:
- First, the $29 billion tax on America’s medical device companies applies to a company’s revenues – not their profits – which hurts small and entrepreneurial employers especially hard.
- Second, at 2.3 percent of revenue the amount of the tax is troubling. For every $100 in revenue, the tax is $2.30, even if the company makes no profit.
- Third, dollars are finite. The tax leaves less money for research and development, hiring employees, clinical trials and manufacturing.
- Fourth, more than 400,000 Americans are employed by our robust medical device industry. Since 80 percent of medical device companies have fewer than 50 employees, we place thousands of small, innovative employers at risk.
- Finally, the innovation derived from our medical device companies save lives, extend lives and improve the quality of our lives. Think artificial knees and hips, imaging machines, arterial stents and numerous other breakthroughs, jeopardized by a tax on innovation.
For those in Congress who have over-reached in their desire to abolish Obamacare, let it go. But for those in the House and Senate who would bypass this opportunity to abolish a damaging and destructive tax on innovation, let’s fix what should never have been enacted.
Here’s food for thought … We need a helicopter.
In 1992, I was a young staff member to a Central Valley legislator. George Deukmejian, a conservative Republican from Los Angeles, was our Governor.
I will never forget the Governor’s leadership in personally championing a nickel-a-gallon gas tax to fund our crumbling and congested transportation system. He even took to the skies, in a helicopter, to give “traffic reports” to underscore the need for additional transportation funds.
Regrettably, the gas tax was not indexed for inflation, so two decades later, it has lost almost all of its buying power. As a result of our under-investment in transportation, the most recent national study shows that the three cities in America with p the worst road conditions are Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. In San Jose, 56 percent of the roads are rated poor – or worse.
It’s past time to re-invest in our roads. If we don’t do so soon, it might be time to buy your own helicopter.