Chula Vista to consider sales tax increase

Posted at 6:10 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 21:39:53-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Chula Vista voters may be asked to vote on a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot.

Mayor Mary Casillas Salas pitched the idea Tuesday during her second State of the City Address, and if approved, that would bump the South Bay city's sales tax to 8.5 percent.

"We need to fix our roads, and our sidewalks, and our potholes," said Salas, who added the city has a $400 million backlog of infrastructure projects, but the city's entire annual budget is less than $140 million.

Salas said the biggest problem with making ends meet in Chula Vista is collecting sales tax.

"There's a lot of people that shop outside of Chula Vista," she said. "If they were shopping inside of Chula Vista, no problem, but that's not the fact."

"What are they doing with the money we already paid for?" asked Marcela Gonzalez, who lives on Via Armado, a street in dire need of repair in Rancho Del Rey.

"Where's the money going? Who's pocketing the money? Are they using it for anything?" asked Gonzalez's neighbor Paul Hill.

Salas acknowledged there is a lot of work to be done, but she defended the city's budget management. She said Chula Vista has reduced city staff to a third of what it once was, slashed millions from its spending and reformed the city's pension system.

Chula Vista conducted a citywide survey that said residents are mostly concerned about street repair and infrastructure. The same survey also revealed 67 percent would support a half-cent sales tax to help pay for those fixes.