No kidding: Four Orange County cities boost sales taxes tomorrow, April Fools’ Day

By Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register | With a dose of irony, sales tax increases in four Orange County cities begin on Monday, April 1 – yes, that’s April Fools’ Day.

Last November, voters in Garden Grove, Placentia and Seal Beach approved hikes of one penny per dollar spent on taxable purchases. Santa Ana did things a little differently, with a 1.5 percent add-on that will drop to 1 percent in 10 years.

The foursome joins five Orange County cities that already bolstered local taxes in previous elections. The statewide sales tax rate is 7.25 percent, of which cities automatically get a penny per dollar spent. Orange County tacks on another half cent to pay for roads and public transit.

Beware: Residents will not succeed at “gaming the system” by leaving their town to shop for cars in cities with lower taxes. For automobiles, sales tax is calculated at the rate of the customer’s residence, not the location of the dealership.

The extra money will go into each city’s general fund. City councils may expend the funds for any municipal purpose, including salaries and burgeoning public employee pension expenses. But to rally support for the increases, all four cities vowed first and foremost to improve public safety resources.

Here is a look at what cities have promised to target . . . .

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