Sheriff pitches Kern sales tax ballot measure to supervisors


With rising crime stats as a backdrop, Sheriff Donny Youngblood went before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to pitch a one-cent on the dollar sales tax hike for Kern County.

And amid some feet dragging from supervisors, the board voted four-to-nothing to move the proposal along in the process.

So those of you living in Kern’s unincorporated parts are one step closer to deciding if you’d like to give more money to your local government.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood made the case that if residents of the City of Bakersfield approve their own sales tax increase in November, it will be directly at the expense of county residents.

Unless Kern’s unincorporated parts can have an increase of their own.

“I don’t bring this forward lightly, I’m not a person who believes in raising taxes, but I believe that we’re at a position in this county where we have no–I as a sheriff have no other alternative but to ask the taxpayers to come forward,” said Sheriff Donny Youngblood making his pitch Tuesday morning to ask to place a sales tax increase on a November ballot for unincorporated Kern voters.

Youngblood fears if residents of Bakersfield vote to increase its sales tax, the Bakersfield Police Department will hire away Kern County Sheriff’s Deputies, crippling KCSO.

“When we don’t have a deputy to send to a substation because we’ve lost our personnel the substation closes by itself,” explained Youngblood.

There’s been confusion over the language of these proposed ballot measures.

Here’s the way to think about it. 

The current sales tax in Kern’s unincorporated parts is 7.25 percent.

So let’s say you buy a car like this for $20,000, you’ll pay $1,450 in sales tax. 

The proposed ballot measure would increase that sales tax from 7.25 to 8.25 percent.

So the same $20,000 car would cost about $200 more in sales tax, $1,650.

Cut out the rhetoric, it’s a sales tax increase from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent. 

Some supervisors were wary, even after the county estimated an increased revenue of $35 million dollars to the General Fund.

“Every tax you look at is just dumping on the taxpayer and what I’m hearing people say is that the best way to fix that problem is to throw money at it. I don’t buy it,” said District One Supervisor Mick Gleason.

“This board has heard me for five years telling you where we were gonna wind up, and you said that you haven’t heard it? That’s because you haven’t listened if that’s the case,” Youngblood fired back.

The board voted 4-0, with Supervisor Leticia Perez absent, to have staff draft language that could put a sales tax on the November ballot. 

The board plans to revisit the issue at the end of July.

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