Paso Robles Council contemplating a sales tax increase

July 6, 2018

The Paso Robles City Council is considering placing a 1 percent sales tax measure on the November ballot, a move that could give the jurisdiction the highest sales tax rate in San Luis Obispo County. [Cal Coast Times]

Currently, Paso Robles has a sales tax rate of 7.75 percent, .5 percent higher than the state of California rate of 7.25 percent. Like each city in SLO County, Paso Robles has an existing half percent sales tax as a result of a ballot measure. Paso Robles voters approved a sales tax increase in 2012 on an approximately 59 percent to 41 percent vote.

Paso Robles officials are now proposing an initiative on the November ballot that would raise the sales tax to 8.75 percent. If placed on the ballot and passed by a majority vote, the sales tax increase would remain in place unless it is repealed by voters.

The measure would generate about $9.5 million annually for the city’s general fund, according to a city staff report. Staffers say certain city services are underfunded in the current budget.

In order to sell the measure, Paso Robles officials are saying the revenue would go toward city streets and emergency services. A survey conducted by a polling company hired by the city found voters prioritize spending on fixing streets and roads and improving law enforcement and emergency services.

The city is also considering placing a simultaneous citizen oversight measure on the ballot. Citizen oversight of the sales tax revenue is said to boost the popularity of the tax hike initiative.

Paso Robles officials have also considered the possibility of placing a parcel tax on the ballot, though the survey found such a measure lacks popular support.

Recently, the San Luis Obispo City Council likewise floated the idea of a 1 percent sales tax increase. The San Luis Obispo council tabled the idea because of a lack of support, but it is still considering placing the measure on the 2020 ballot.

Paso Robles is now one of many cities in California pursuing a sales tax increase. The numerous sales tax initiatives have arisen following a CalPERS rate adjustment and surging pension costs that have damaged many cities’ budgets. Critics are alleging cities in California are pushing tax hikes to pay for pension costs while packaging the measures as initiatives to fund police, fire protection and other vital services.


Wow! They want 1% more? We just passed the 0.5% sales tax increase a few years ago to help with “roads” and the road in front of my house is so bad you have to drive slower than the speed limit and on the shoulder of the road to avoid damaging your vehicle. Don’t fear, government is here to solve all of our problems, they just need a “little more” money to make all my problems go away…except the problems never go away, but my money seems to go away. Sorry Paso Robles, I will vote a solid NO on this or any other future tax increase.


Taking a lesson from happy town, for sure. But this seems daft. Have Paso residents changed so much they’d vote for this? Those people should listen to what happened in SLO, where the city honchos also hired a pollster to find out what people would vote for taxing themselves (open space preservation, in a nutshell), dangled that in front of them on the ballot, then when they got the tax stopped preserving more open space and it’s not even a listed priority by this current stinking liar of a city council. This bait and switch is legal, moreover, because if a tax is approved by a majority, rather than by a supermajority, it cannot be allocated to anything in particular but can be used for whatever a city wants. Paso residents shouldn’t allow themselves to be fooled like SLO people were all too pleased to be fooled. People in SLO aren’t very smart or we’d not have a council like this one, playing tricks like they play on us and happy people still pleased as punch to live in this cesspool.


You are correct. In order for any chance for any additional tax the vote must be a supermajority vote, that’s means it has to pass by 66%. Then those funds need to be restricted to road repairs. Now where the trickery comes in is that the city, once again saying that they are so over worked, will require that additional staff be hired in order to study how to spend the money and get the work done. I would propose that the council take the bed tax from the hotels and restrict a portion of that to the roads as they have encouraged an increase in traffic with their tourism program. I think that SLO and/or SLOCOG said most of the sales tax came from tourism. So they actually do know where the problem stems from. It’s them not us.


Underfunded Public Emploee pensions. When was the last time they earned 7.5-8% on their pensions?


CalPERS earned 15.7% during 2017.


Last year, lots more than that, in fact. And CalPers current goal is 7%, not the numbers you have above. Time will tell how close they come to that.


It would be nice if everytime I wanted to spend more money or pay for the money I am currently spending, I could confiscate it from others.

Has a government ever taxed itself into prosperity?


“Has a government ever taxed itself into prosperity?”

Depends on who is getting taxed, and how much… During this country’s most prosperous times the extremely wealthy paid higher taxes (percentage and dollar wise) than the average working stiff did. Since the often tried and ever failing “trickle down economics” has now become all the rage again, “The Tax Cut and Jobs Act”, and if history repeats itself, and it usually does, this administration is setting the working class up for less money in our pockets while lining the coffers of the rich, again! And if it does come crashing down, and it will, the working stiff will pay the greatest price while the wealthy will actually benefit, again!

A Flat Tax or a National Sales Tax would better benefit all…