SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica will join the likes of major metropolises like Chicago as one of the highest taxed cities in the country. A new citywide sales tax hike goes into effect on Saturday, April 1. Consumers will be paying about an extra 10 cents for each dollar they spend within city limits to state and local governments.
This will be the second sales tax increase residents of the city have seen this year. The Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan (Measure M), which was passed by Los Angelenos in November 2016, levied a half cent countywide sales tax that went into effect January 2017. Measure GSH, a local ballot measure also passed by Santa Monica residents last November, will add an additional .5 percent to the rate next month, sending the city’s sales tax into double digits at 10.25 percent.
Classified as a “transactions and use tax,” lawmakers expect the new fees to generate an additional 16 million in revenue for the municipality. The new law was backed by the Santa Monica City Council, and several interest groups including the PTA and AARP.
“Measure GSH will bring critically needed resources to protect renters, seniors, and working families from losing their homes and help keep our excellent schools strong and able to serve our community for years to come. Every penny from Measure GSH will stay in Santa Monica and cannot be taken away by Sacramento,” the official ballot argument stated.
Dr. Nick Dungey, Santa Monica resident and professor of Political Science at CSU Northridge, believes the sales tax increase puts the city on the wrong track.
“California is in a death spiral,” Dr. Dungey told Canyon News. “The cost of living and doing business here is becoming prohibitive. We’re seeing a collapse of the tax base. As this happens, local government is unable to cope and ends up raising taxes even more. The infrastructure is broken, traffic is broken, the culture is breaking down, there is massive homelessness. We’re seeing a decay of the public space.”