Taxes

Seven Inland cities are asking voters to approve tax measures; four would raise sales taxes.

By Alicia Robinson / Staff Writer
Published: Aug. 19, 2016
Updated: Aug. 21, 2016 12:24 a.m.

Several Riverside County cities are hoping to cut through the election season noise and convince residents to support tax increases to pay for police, fire and other key services.

Voters in seven Inland cities will see local tax increases on the Nov. 8 ballot, though two of the measures would tax marijuana and thus hinge on the success of a statewide pot legalization initiative.

Four cities – Hemet, Menifee, Riverside and Temecula – will ask voters to increase the local sales tax by 1 percentage point or 1 cent, from 8 percent to 9 percent. Two others, Moreno Valley and San Jacinto, propose raising hotel room taxes, and San Jacinto and San Bernardino have pot taxes on the ballot.

The local measures reflect a broader trend of putting tax issues to a vote in even-year general elections, said Michael Coleman, fiscal policy adviser to the League of California Cities. Statewide, about 240 local tax issues will appear on ballots this fall, he said. About half are school bonds.

The general election vote is attractive partly because of the larger turnout, Coleman said, but how local issues fare “depends a lot on the local politics.”

THE NEED

Officials in the four cities asking for sales tax increases say they’re facing deficits, largely because of rising costs for police and fire service.

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