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Measure T Hearing in Martinez Tomorrow

Measure T court hearing, Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, 9:00 am, 725 Court St., Martinez.

See Judge Pessimistic About Measure T in First Court Test, September 2, 2009.

At 10:00 am the court hearing in the lawsuit of Chevron against the City of Richmond will begin in Department 6, Judge David Flinn.

Key issue:  Chevron claims that Measure T violates the Commerce Clause because it disadvantages companies that operate both in Richmond and elsewhere.   In his preliminary ruling, Judge Flinn tended to concur.  However, the supplemental information supplied by Richmond's attorneys, together with the City's original filing, clearly show how Richmondís implementation of Measure T does in fact comply with the Commerce Clause.

Richmondís Tax Collector, Jim Goins, notified all Richmond businesses on Feb. 2, 2009 that companies doing business both inside and outside Richmond can apportion their business license tax based on the amount of work they do in Richmond. Goins further clarified how this works in the Business License Ordinance Enforcement Policy on March 27, 2009.  To do this, a company would do the following:

∑         assume that every place they do business has a business license ordinance just like Measure T

∑         calculate what the total business license tax for all locations would be

∑         determine what percentage of their total business happens in Richmond

∑         pay that percentage of the total calculated business license tax to the City of Richmond

Chevron declined to exercise this apportionment option when it paid its business license tax in April, 2009 Ė approximately $21 million that the City will not spend until the outcome of the lawsuit is determined.

Some believe that Chevron is trying to use a technicality that doesnít hold water in order to avoid paying its fair share of taxes to Richmond.