Half-Cent Sales Tax Ain’t Happening Now

The half-cent sales tax that Santa Barbara City Hall insiders were sure would be on this November’s ballot won’t be happening, because there weren’t the five council votes needed to put the measure to voters. Councilmember Gregg Hart was the key swing vote, and he wouldn’t budge, even after Councilmember Cathy Murillo, his closest ally on the dais, implored him to do so. The proceeds of the sales tax hike ​— ​$10 million a year for $20 years ​— ​could be used to attack a massive backlog of unfunded infrastructure needs. Hart objected that the measure did not earmark the additional revenues to infrastructure projects, meaning future councils could use the money as they saw fit.

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