Cupertino, California: Pop, 58,302 Souls, plus 1 Gigantic Company.
That, of course, would be Apple, and in an interview highlighting the seemingly frayed town-gown relations, so to speak, between the company and the city, particularly its mayor Barry Chang, Chang tells the Guardian that when he was a city council member he was actually kicked out of Apple's current headquarters.
Barry Chang barely made it into the lobby when Apple’s security team surrounded and escorted him off the property... “They said ‘you cannot come in, you’re not invited’. After that I left and have not gone back,” said an exasperated Chang, who’s been mayor since December 2015 and had approached the computing firm when he was serving on the city council three years ago.
While the company says they have no record of the incident, Chang nevertheless has a bone to pick with Apple, who pay a measly 2.3 percent effective tax rate per Citizens for Tax Justice. “[Apple is] not willing to pay a dime. They’re making a profit, and they should share the responsibility for our city, but they won’t,” Chang said to the Guardian. “They abuse us.”
Speaking of: For his part, Mayor Chang is being threatened by a recall attempt according to the Mercury News. That's due to "abusive and dishonest behavior toward the public and other council members [and] personal attacks against residents in council meetings and in the State of the City address," in the words of the recall notice.
But if Chang isn't intimidated by a $500 billion company, well then, you know..."I'm not afraid of it," he told the Merc."I try to do the right thing for the people of Cupertino. It's a small group of people; it's radical."
Returning to the tiff with Apple, while terming company's treatment of Cupertino as "abuse" has got to be hyperbolic, the general sentiment is shared by many. As Ron Eckstein of Americans for Tax Fairness, an advocacy group, put it to the Guardian. “They’re all just as good at engineering their own tax rates as they are at engineering new technology,” Ron Eckstein of Americans for Tax Fairness, an advocacy group, put it to the Guardian.
Steve Wozniak recently told BBC radio that the company he founded with Steve Jobs ought to pay far more in taxes: as the Guardian quotes him, “I don’t like the idea that Apple might be unfair not paying taxes the way I do as a person. I do a lot of work, I do a lot of travel and I pay over 50% of anything I make in taxes and I believe that’s part of life and you should do it.”
Perhaps someday they will, perhaps they won't, but with their new "spaceship campus" plowing ahead, Apple looks as if it could blast off from Cupertino — and the planet, with its burdensome tax obligations — altogether.