Sheriff plans to ask for sales tax hike measure on Nov. ballot

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First on 17 News, now that residents of the City of Bakersfield will get a chance to vote on a new sales tax in November, Kern’s Sheriff plans to make a similar proposal in the county.

If voters approve a one percent sales tax increase in Bakersfield, the city promises to spend a large chunk of that revenue on law enforcement. 

Sheriff Donny Youngblood told 17 News Monday the county should do the same to keep up.

“The city putting this on the ballot, and if it passes for them, they’re gonna hire a lot of police officers and we’re gonna be where they hire them from. So we need to counter that by getting on the ballot,” said Youngblood. 

Youngblood says a one percent sales tax increase, mirroring the language in the Bakersfield ballot, could give the county an extra $35 million a year in revenue.

The current Kern County sales tax is 7.25 percent.

Youngblood says the extra cash would go to Kern County Fire and other agencies, but the Kern County Sheriff’s Office would ask for the lion’s share to retain and hire more deputies, among other things.

Youngblood, who just handily won re-election to four more years as sheriff, acknowledged asking for a tax hike is antithetical to many conservatives.

“I don’t believe in raising taxes, I’m gonna vote to do away with the gas tax, but this is different. We have a board that’s 4/5ths conservative, and they also don’t like to raise taxes, so I have to emphasize to them they’re not raising taxes, we’re giving the public the opportunity to say yes or no,” said Youngblood.

Youngblood plans to present his proposal to the Board of Supervisors next week.

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