The SVO Voices Its Opposition on Commercial Linkage Fee Study

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On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), I am writing to comment on the council item 4.3 – commercial linkage fee scope and timeline. The SVO is the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,200+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.

We remain firm in our opposition of commercial linkage fees, as the fee structure could create disincentives for employers to add jobs and would worsen San Jose’s already poor “jobs-to-housing” imbalance. We still believe that the key systemic solution to addressing our unprecedented housing crisis is to drastically increase housing supply at all income levels throughout the region. The best way to accomplish this goal is to relax regulatory barriers established by San Jose’s general plan in order to significantly accelerate housing production. By significantly increasing housing supply, there will be a downward trend in market rate development prices that will provide more affordable housing options for our residents and further prevent homelessness in our community.

If the council must conduct a study of the commercial linkage fee, we strongly encourage that the council give direction to proceed with both a nexus and feasibility study through the staff recommended scope and timeline. The staff timeline is realistic and would allow enough time to conduct a proper analysis of the potential impacts to commercial developments as a direct result of this fee. Furthermore, there should not be a separate study of “high tech office, retail, industrial, and office” as those building types are already included in the staff recommendation.

In closing, we are open to being collaborative partners as staff conducts an outreach plan that should include developers and employers.