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Sales tax jumps again

Latest hike brings rate to 9.75 percent

Posted: July 2, 2009 9:57 p.m.
Updated: July 3, 2009 4:30 a.m.

That new car just got a little more expensive to buy in Los Angeles County as sales tax has jumped by 0.5 percent again.  

Sales tax in Los Angeles County climbed to 9.75 percent on July 1. The most recent jump in sales tax will pay for Measure R, a county tax assessment that will pay for mass transit upgrades.

The sales tax climbed from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent on April 1, before this most recent jump. The sales tax will fall back to 8.75 percent in 2011.   

The recent tax hike came as a surprise to one Santa Clarita resident.

Measure R was approved by a two-thirds majority in Nov. 2008. A projected $40 billion from the measure will help pay for transportation upgrades and traffic relief in the county over the next 30 years.

Locally, a direct link for carpoolers between the Interstate 5 and state Route 14 freeways is one project that will receive funds from Measure R, according to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Web site.

Some Santa Clarita Valley residents who were asked Thursday about the sales-tax increase weren’t aware it climbed to 9.75 percent until Wednesday afternoon.

“I definitely will think about it now since it’s gone up so high,” said Sheila Dutka, of Valencia. “I don’t like it, but what do you do about it?”

At a sales-tax rate of 8.75 percent, which it was between April 1 and July 1, a $15,000 car cost $16,387.50 with tax added. The same car now costs $16,462.50.

“Fortunately, I don’t have to buy another car,” Dutka added.

Dutka will start keeping track of the sales tax she spends on high ticket items, because “the only light at the end of the tunnel” may be a potential tax break come tax season, she said.

Chris Gehrke, of Castaic, did not vote for Measure R, which is responsible for the July 1 0.5 percent increase.

“I think the money already earmarked for (transportation) is enough to take care of what those needs are,” he said. “And I don’t think Santa Clarita will be a direct recipient of it.”

Gehrke said he might consider travelling to Ventura for a lower sales-tax rate when the need arises for a high-ticket item.

Tax rates in all but two communities in Ventura County are 8.25 percent. That $15,000 car would cost $16,237.50, according to California Board of Equalization Web site.    

“For myself, there’s not much of an impact financially,” he said. “But I’d imagine the average wage-earning family is affected to the point they might stop buying (luxury items) or might not be able to buy a car.”

“For people who live paycheck to paycheck, it definitely affects their well being,” he added.

Jodie Deisbeck, of Canyon Country, called the tax increase “ridiculous,” but when it comes to buying, “if you need it, you need it,” she said.

“If it’s not that, it’s something else — water rates, sewage rates,” she said. “You just got to smile and go on with your day and not let it bother you.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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