SACRAMENTO, CA - With California's economy struggling to recover from the recession, there's a new push to raise taxes to pay for services.
Gov. Jerry Brown will ask voters for a tax hike when they go to the polls in November. And now the City of Sacramento is considering doing the same thing to help close a $16 million deficit and fund public safety.
About 800 people in the City of Sacramento were polled last month. On Tuesday, council members reviewed poll results in the released 25 page report.
A surprising number of the people polled support some sort of tax.
According to a city a consultant:
- 78-percent of voters would support a half-cent sales tax to fund the city's police department.
- 76-percent say they would support the same sales tax hike for the city's fire department.
- More two-thirds of voters supported either a half or quarter cent sales tax to support Sacramento's general fund.
- 70 percent would support a half cent sales tax increase if it would benefit public safety and other services.
- The half cent city sales tax could make as much as 26 million dollars a year for Sacramento.
The survey looked at a couple of other different revenue options, including a soda tax and a parcel tax.
There are mixed feelings among individual city council members about a possible half cent sales tax. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson talked about a possible tax in his weekly press conference. He said it might not be the best idea.
"I'm not inclined to think that the tax is the automatic best thing to do. I think economic development is important, we've got to find ways to grow revenue," Johnson said. "And I still think the public is looking at its government agencies very closely and we're trying to restore that faith and confidence."
The mayor believes creating jobs and economic development will be a better answer to solving the city's deficit instead of a tax.
City council did not vote on this issue Tuesday. They discussed the issue and decided that they will get more public input later. City council members said they want to adopt a budget first by the June 12 deadline.
Then, the council has until July 24 to get more public input on whether to put a tax initiative on the November ballot.
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org