City council proposes sales tax increase


Bird in Hand owner Bob Malowney shares his thoughts on a sales tax increase. Photo credit: Jessie Imhoff

The Chico City Council discussed the possibility of increasing sales tax in Chico in a council meeting Tuesday. If successful, the change would make the sales tax in the city go from 7.25% to 8.25%.

A voter survey was taken by EMC Research to decide if voters would approve a tax increase measure. The results, shared by Jessica Polski during the council meeting, showed in the key findings that “the vast majority identify a need for additional funding to Chico,” and “support today for a 1% sales tax measure is above the majority threshold.”

With a sales tax increase, an extra $18 million in revenue would be added to the city’s revenue.

Loretta Torres, who owned and operated a rice farm for over 50 years, shared her support for a tax increase at the meeting.

“I am a very fiscally conservative person, I had to be to run a business for… 50 years,” Torres said. “If this were the state raising our gas tax without any measure or voter input at all I’d be screaming, but at least we’ve got the mechanism to have a vote in our city about this. I am in favor of this.”

Bob Malowney, owner of Bird in Hand, agreed that a sales tax increase is a good thing for our community.

“We need the money to fix the things that need to be repaired,” Malowney said. “Everything has an effect on business, but this will have an effect on the pleasant qualities of our town, too.”

While these business owners like the proposal, others on the city council do not agree.

“I will support this because we are asking the voters to support it or not but as we move forward the only way I will support it is if it requires a two-thirds vote,” Councilor Sean Morgan said. “I’ll support it to the point where we are today.”

The council voted unanimously to put this measure on the November 2020 ballot.

Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports