Fontana Now The Next San Bernardino County City To Ask Its Residents For Additional Sales Tax

Fontana is the latest of San Bernardino County’s cities to propose a sales tax increase within its city limits.
On July 9, the city council will discuss and vote upon a proposed resolution to place on the November ballot a measure to impose an additional 1 percent sales tax on all retail transactions to take place in the city, with the exception of those for non-prepared food and medicine. The tax would be applicable to all other items sold, including food sold in restaurants.
There is an issue extending to food which is to be sold by vendors in the city. While the tax would technically apply to such sales, the city does not have a ready mechanism to enforce the collection of the tax. Sales tax imposed by the State of California and the County of San Bernardino already , applies to sidewalk and street vendors in Fontana, but virtually none of them collect it.
In the March primary election, voters in Chino approved imposing a one-cent per dollar sales tax in that city. On June 24, the Yucaipa City Council voted to place an initiative on the November 2024 ballot asking that city’s residents to approve a one cent per dollar sales tax override. Yucaipa’s’ voters in 2020 rejected a half-cant sales tax proposal.
In 2022, Ontario’s voters approved a one-cent-per dollar sales tax increase. The same year, voters in Upland rejected a half-cent sales tax increase.
Other San Bernardino County cities with additional sales tax tacked on to what the state and the county charges are Barstow, Colton, Montclair, Redlands, San Bernardino, Victorville, and Yucca Valley.
The tax will not be devoted to funding any activity in particular. It is a peculiarity of California law that tax initiatives approved by voters which devote the money collected to a specific purpose must be passed by a two-thirds majority. Under California law, initiatives that call for the levying of a tax to produce revenue for which no use is specified need to gain a simple majority approval to pass. The proposal to be considered at the Fontana City Council’s July 9 meeting calls for a “transactions and use tax for general purposes,” which would go into effect if approved by a majority vote of the city electorate.
According to information available to the Sentinel, four of the council members have violated California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, and have given each other indication they will approve the measure for the ballot through a series of serial meetings and conversations with one another about the tax proposal. They have already committed to making the pitch for the tax in the language of the measure, which is to reference maintaining the city’s 9-1-1 response, supporting the fire department’s and police department’s operations, reducing crime, continued upkeep of parks, redressing homelessness in the city, repairing streets and preserving water quality.
If the measure passes, city officials say it will generate roughly $46 million per year in revenue to the city.

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