Facebook founder promotes higher taxes to his own disadvantage

Shutterstock / Frederic Legrand

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan want to bring more income to the California state. A real estate tax reform is currently being debated in California. It’s about $ 12 billion more a year businesses would have to pay in property taxes. In addition to Google, Disney and Apple, Facebook would also be affected by the increase.

Nevertheless, Zuckerberg and his wife support the California state’s project with an initiative, as the “Wirtschaftswoche” writes, so that it can put the money into schools and hospitals.

In the US, homeowners already have to pay thousands of dollars a year for property taxes. In California, this is based on the purchase price and is currently only allowed to increase by two percent per year. This calculation, which is more than 40 years old, would have to be overturned for the reform.

Newcomers are discriminated against

The criticism of this regulation, the so-called Proposition 13: Citizens who have lived in California for a long time have an advantage over those who have moved there. For example, a family who buys a house for $ 2 million must pay property tax of $ 20,000 a year. The neighbor, who bought his house there for a much cheaper price 20 years ago, pays significantly less per year.

This regulation is considered holy in California, it says in the “Business Week”. Every politician who tried to change has failed. Since Proposition 13 applies not only to private houses but also to commercial real estate, companies have always supported it. Now the reacting Democrats want to try again in November.

Because a complete reform of the property tax has little political chance, it should be divided. That said, California voters will initially vote on Proposition 15, which governs property tax on commercial real estate. These would then be determined from 2025 on the basis of the current market value and no longer on the basis of the last purchase price.

Tech companies have a lot to lose

This could get really expensive for big tech companies. Alphabet, the mother of Google, and Apple are big owners of commercial real estate in Silicon Valley. Long-established companies also have a lot to lose. Facebook would also have to pay a lot, writes Wirtschaftswoche – but the premium would not be as high as, for example, Google.

At the moment, the tech giants are largely staying out of the debate. The exception: Mark Zuckerberg and his wife oppose the interests of the other Silicon Vally companies. Because their initiative supports a property tax reform. Proposition 15 closes tax loopholes for companies in order to collect up to 12 billion dollars annually for public services in California such as schools, hospitals and clinics, ”explains Andrea Collier of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The Facebook founder has often faced accusations of hypocrisy. Because so far the group has used every loophole to keep taxes as low as possible.


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