Reaction to possible tax hike being put on November ballot

The Bakersfield City Council is letting voters decide whether they want to raise the city's sales tax.

Come November, voters will get to decide, either raise the sales tax by 1% or possible see cuts to city resources.

Wednesday night, as expected, City Council approved adding the proposed sales tax increase to the ballot. Councilman Ken Weir, was the only one against it, claiming the language is misleading to the public.

"I do not believe the ballot language fully informs them," said Weir.

Although Weir believes voters should have a choice, he says the tax money will go places that won't necessarily serve the community.

"A good portion of this money is going to pension plans, pension debt, that is not on the ballot language anywhere, and that's going to absorb 15 to 30% of the money," said Weir.

The proposed 1 cent tax hike will provide an additional 50 million dollars a year to city services. Some will go to pensions, but it will also go to first responders.

"We'll be able to reduce those response times, well be able to handle gang issues proactively and re-actively," said Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin.

"This great city grows and it is our desire to responsibly grow with the city," said BFD Fire Chief Douglas R. Greener.

Right now, Bakersfield has one of the lowest sales taxes in the state, at just 7.25%, the increase is concerning some local business owners.

Owner of the Antique Mall downtown, Nick Avalos, says he's worried the new sales tax will drive customers away.

"We're not too happy about it, I know our costumers aren't going be to too happy about it" said Avalos. "It all adds up over time."

While Dianna Klawitter, owner of House of Flowers downtown, doesn't think it'll make a big difference.

"I don't think it's going to make any difference at all, I don't think when you go to Los Angeles and pay 10% tax you even notice then, so if it's going to help with safety in Kern County I'm totally behind that," said Klawitter.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off