A Sales Tax Increase Could Be Coming to Kern

Kern County supervisors moved forward with a proposal Tuesday that could result in a one percent sales tax increase appearing on the November ballot. But they didn’t do so without complaint.

“I don’t think transparency exists. I don’t think we’ve vetted this,” said Supervisor Mick Gleason. “I’m not saying, and I’m not suggesting, that there isn’t a bona fide need for a tax increase. What I’m saying is I don’t like the way this is rolling out.”

Nevertheless, by a vote of 4 to 0, the Board directed county counsel to draft a measure that could potentially appear on the ballot. (Fifth District Supervisor Leticia Perez was absent.) It would raise the sales tax in unincorporated Kern from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent.

The measure is being pushed by Sheriff Donny Youngblood. He says his department is suffering from a number of vacancies and the impending loss of recruits. If ultimately approved, the sales tax hike would add an estimated $35 million annually to county coffers.

The proposal will come back before the Board on July 24.