City of Paso Robles considering measure to increase sales tax

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 05, 2018

Shoppers in Paso Robles could be shelling out extra cash when making a purchase.

It’s all part of a proposed one percent sales tax measure.

Currently, shoppers pay a 7.75 percent sales tax in Paso Robles. The owner of Idler’s Home, Don Idler says a possible one percent hike probably wouldn’t affect business.

"Sales tax is something that we all pay and the amount in the rest of the county is pretty similar to what the proposed increase is," Idler said.

Shoppers in Santa Maria pay 8 percent in sales tax and also have an increase of .75 percent to consider come November.

In San Luis Obispo, it’s currently 7.75 percent. 

So why a possible hike for the North County city?

"The primary purpose of it would be to maintain and rehabilitate our streets," said Tom Frutchey, Paso Robles City Manager.

Frutchey says the city’s roads and streets are rated 54 out of 100.
He says even with the .5 percent sales tax measure approved by voters back in 2012 that continues until 2024, the roads still need improvement.

"I don’t believe the city needs to come back to its citizens to take another sales tax, another tax at all," said resident Kim LaChance. "I think they need to find another way to meet their obligations through other means."

Just last year, the sales tax in Paso Robles was 8 percent. Since then, it’s dropped .25 percent due to a state decrease.
"Of that 7.75 percent, we get only 1 percent. The majority goes to the county, the school district and the state," Frutchey added.

An increase in sales tax means paying more for those high ticket items.

"I don’t think we really took that into consideration when we bought our car," said Elsie Casida. "We probably should have done a little more looking into that, but yeah, that would make a difference, a whole 1 percent makes a difference."

A 1 percent sales tax increase could generate $10 million a year.

The measure would have a clause that guarantees that all the funds have to be used in the city.

It’s important to keep in mind that the city council could vote for the 8.75 percent sales tax or anything in between the current rate. The length of time is also up for discussion.

A community forum is planned on this topic on Monday, July 16, at 6 p.m. at Flamson Middle School. 

On the 17th, the council will decide whether to put the proposed measure on the ballot.

More than 700 likely Paso Robles voters gave their input through phone and online surveys about the likelihood of voter support for the potential measure. The city says 59 percent said they would support it.