Voters in Santa Barbara will decide in November on a half-cent sales tax increase

The Santa Barbara City Council recently voted unanimously to place the Santa Barbara Essential Local Services measure on November 5, 2024.

The ½ cent increase for applicable purchases in Santa Barbara would provide an estimated $15.6 million annually to support the city’s General Fund, which pays for local services including public safety, maintenance, libraries, affordable housing and more.

If approved by Santa Barbara voters, the increase would be collected in the same manner as the existing city sales and use tax and subject to the same tax exemptions, such as services, rent, groceries, prescription drugs, utilities, diapers, and products for feminine hygiene.

The measure was put to the vote after staff discussed the status of the city’s services, its budget and the potential for new revenue to support them during a series of meetings.

A community survey found that a majority of respondents rated areas such as maintaining 911 emergency fires, paramedics, and police responses; Improving the affordability of housing is a high priority.

These and other services are supported by the city’s General Fund, which the county estimates could see shortfalls of as much as 5-7% ($11 million – $15 million) within the next three years, despite several years of budget cuts whole city. departments.

More information about the Santa Barbara Essential Local Services Measure can be found here.