Council Mulls Sales Tax Bump

Half-Cent Increase Would Generate Around $10 Million Annually

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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The Santa Barbara City Council is considering whether to put a sales tax increase on this November’s ballot to help offset the $200 million gap between City Hall’s projected capital needs and the funds that bean counters project it will have to pay for them. A half-cent bump in the sales tax would generate approximately $10 million a year, a revenue stream that could be used to justify the sale of new municipal bonds. Only a simple council majority would be required to place the item before city voters this November, and only a simple majority of voters would be required to enact it.

Even though city finances have taken a decided and consistent turn for the better in recent months, officials worry that the loss of redevelopment agency dollars and the increased demand of pension obligations for retired workers still have city coffers behind the proverbial eight ball. As the economy appears to improve, officials find residents wanting cut services restored.

A case in point involves the once public tennis courts on Las Positas Road, which City Hall turned over to the Elings Park Foundation. In recent months, Las Positas players have seen their annual court costs jump from $140 to $490 with the change of management and have not been shy about expressing their unhappiness. While the council never deliberated over the fate of the Las Positas courts, it will deliberate over a possible sales tax increase early this March.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It won't fly, need to do more about the pension fund debacle. Our past and present government have dug a pension hole that the taxpayers will never be able to pay.

tw1950 (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 4:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The council should take a look back at how many employees we had in the earlier 90's, and what spending was compared to then vs now. Even with the economic downturn of today the city's revenue was lower then but it built its reserves and met a pretty much unchanged numerically, populations goals and needs. They might figure out the problem even with all the new revenue streams (permits, fees, taxes, etc) may well be with the "progressive" bloc of the councils management on fiscal and staff issues versus the moderate Democrats who used to run the city.

pointssouth (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 4:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually it was many of the mistakes of the "moderate Democrats" that brought us this mess today.. many of them (not all) were less moderate, and more NeoLiberal don't you think? Why and how else could State St. have become the banal corporate wonderland it's become?. The El Paseo Nuevo didn't spring up by itself (for example.) And with all the shopper's money no longer staying in town.. well it's no surprise things are rough.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 5:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm glad I do my shopping in Goleta.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Goleta is the closest place that has anything useful other than Chaucer's!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 5:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a Santa Barbara shopper (sometimes), but not a resident (so I wouldn't be able to vote on it) I would be annoyed if I had to pay a higher percentage to buy something in SB vs say Goleta or Carpinteria. I do a lot of shopping on Amazon so I pay the rate based on my shipping address so I wouldn't be affected there. Also groceries wouldn't be affected since there isn't much sales tax on items purchased from the grocery store unless they aren't food items.

It would probably lead me to spend a little more outside of Santa Barbara on purpose but I'm a cheapskate and like saving a few pennies or bucks here and there,

ty (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 6:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Half a cent is a deal breaker?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 7:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No way!
Crazy,crazy crazy.
Time for pension reform, not tax increases.

loneranger (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 8:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How about cutting subsidies to Fiesta which no local attends if they can avoid to begin with.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 9:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gas station A charges $3.98 a gallon, Gas station B charges $4.00 a gallon.

I choose A every time.

ty (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On the same ballot we should have the salaries of public servants, and the choice of which ones to cut. Some get $200K to $300K.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2013 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A regressive tax by regressive thinkers.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 1:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I really would want to look at a detailed budget and projected expenditures before I agreed to another sales tax increase. We just got one last November.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What they really need to do is focus new taxes on the tourists who get all the benefits instead of more taxes for the residents who get all the headaches.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 3:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just don't think the City deserves a blank check, whether from residents or from visitors. Show us why you need it, show us what you are doing with what you have, and then we'll consider it, maybe. We're all feeling kind of squeezed these days.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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