Kern County Supes Cautious of Offering Tiny Sales Tax to Voters

But it is either that or privatization of the county’s library system.

The tax was formally requested by Miranda Lomeli-O’Reilly of the Advocates for Library Enhancement group to be placed on the June ballot. The tax would only be a one-eighth cent sales tax (0.125%) aimed at generating $15 million annually for the public library systems in the county.

Kern County’s current sales tax rate is 7.5%. County Administrative Officer John Nilon revealed that Kern’s libraries are among the worst funded in the state, with the county only spending $8 per capita while the state average is $25.

Supervisors remain leery and varied in support of placing the tax on the June ballot. Supervisor Leticia Perez brought up the almost yearlong process of figuring out what to do with the libraries and “to cut the process off now just seems to me to be unfair and unjust.” Supervisor Mike Maggard said he supports the prospect of allowing voters to decide, but was mum about his own view of the sales tax. Supervisor David Couch voted against the plan citing insufficient time for polling on the matter to come back in time to then get the tax on the ballot.

The Bakersfield Californian reported that most attending the meeting voiced support for the tax, but a small group echoed Bush Sr. with comments like, “Read my lips. No more taxes.”

More on Kern’s potential library sales tax can be found here.


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