SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento City Council voted to move final discussions on a possible sales tax hike to Tuesday.
City Manager John Shirey presented a proposal to the city council Thursday night asking them to place a measure on the November ballot seeking to raise the city sales tax rate.
The city's current sales tax rate is 7.75 percent; the new rate would be 8.25 percent
According to Shirey, the proposed half percent tax increase could add as much as $30 million a year to the general fund.
"This is the only way we'll get out of debt. I hope our citizens will understand it," council member Sandy Sheedy said. "We really need to get our head above water. This is the only way we can do it."
"Nobody likes to raise taxes," council member Angelique Ashby said. But I think the decision ultimately lies with voters."
Tuesday night, most Sacramento city council members supported letting voters decide on the issue. However, a final vote won't happen until July 24.
Mayor Kevin Johnson and several business groups have expressed concern over the possible increase in sales tax.
"I'm definitely against raising taxes anymore than they already are...even if it's just a little bit," Kupro's Bar and Restaurant customer LeeAnn Wright said.
"It's not a lot to ask. We all have to pitch in to help a little bit. It's not just that significant," Sacramento resident Chris King said.
"I don't think it will make a big difference," Stefan Betz Bloom antique store owner Scout Living said. "I don't think that it's a big enough increase that it would really affect our sales in anyway. I think if it could help the city a little bit that's fine."
Sacramento resident Alana McKinzie is leery about the proposal.
"Depends on what the outcome of the money was, what they're telling me their intention is for raising the taxes," McKinzie said. "It really does matter to me."
"If they're telling me that this money would be dedicated only to the designated areas, then I would vote for it," McKinzie added. "If they're saying 'potentially' - I know what that word means. It leaves a gray area and I probably wouldn't vote for it."
By Natalie Sentz, firstname.lastname@example.org and Suzanne Phan, email@example.com