Business owners threaten to stop paying taxes until Oakland addresses devastating crime

Some business owners in Oakland are threatening to stop paying taxes until the city does something to combat the worsening crime damaging their livelihoods.

Jose Ortiz, the owner of the La Perla Puerto Rican Cuisine, told KNTV-TV that his restaurant has been robbed at gunpoint twice just in the past two years. He says business had dropped by 25% because customers don’t feel safe in the area.

“We’re not the only ones,” he said. “We’re all in the same boat all across the city of Oakland. The city needs to immediately, effectively do something about it.”


“We’re proposing not to pay taxes to the city until you give me the services that we deserve,” he added.

City Councilman Noel Gallo told KNTV that he sympathizes with the business owners, but instead of combatting crime, he thinks it would be easier to let business owners pay less in taxes.

“The owner is absolutely correct,” Gallo replied. “Why do we keep just elevating taxes, but we’re not providing the services for safety?”

Edward Escobar, the founder of an effort to recall the mayor of Oakland, backed the idea to suspend taxes until crime is addressed.

“The ball is being dropped significantly due to poor policies and poor leadership,” said Escobar. “If you’re not providing the services then how can you charge full business taxes to a lot of these businesses that are barely, barely surviving?”


When Ortiz was told about the new police officers, he had a pointed question as a response.

“My question is where are they? Because I don’t see them!” he added.

“I want service. I want police officers to patrol the streets of Oakland,” Ortiz continued. “I want the streets to be clean!”

The recall effort needs 25,000 signatures by July in order to get on the ballot in November. Ortiz said he doesn’t back the recall campaign but is looking to the legal process for his business tax boycott plan.

* Original Article: