April 18th is Tax Day this year, but on the first of the month in two local cities, shoppers will be seeing a tax increase on their purchases, and it won't be an April Fools' Day joke.
South El Monte and Santa Monica are two of the 14 California cities where voters last November approved local sales tax increases to begin in April, the Board of Equalization announced today. Both will have an increase of a half penny on the dollar, or 9.75% to 10.25%. Like many cities across the state, the tax increases were needed to avoid cuts in city services, proponents said.
Not all believe that's the best approach. "Too often, policymakers address budget crises simply by cutting department budgets or proposing higher taxes," said Teresa Casazza, President of the non-profit California Taxpayers Association. "Instead, we need to look at what government is doing and how we can do it better." Her statement was regarding the organization's release of a report (.pdf) earlier this week that documents how government agencies in the state can save billions by improving efficiencies and reducing fraud.
The other 12 cities in California with April 1st tax increases are San Leandro, Union City, Concord, El Cerrito, Placerville, Eureka, Novato, Marina, Tracy, Sonoma, Santa Rosa and Wheatland.
And on the opposite side of all this, Scotts Valley City in Santa Cruz County will experience a decrease from 9.25% to 9% because a local tax ends on March 31st.