Palm Springs’ sales tax rate will increase by 0.5 percent starting Sunday, an increase approved by voters last fall to generate $7 million annually for police and emergency services.
Effective Sunday, city sales taxes will increase from 8.75 to 9.25 percent as a result of last fall’s approval of Measure D, a measure touted to put more police officers on the streets, improve 911 response times, address homelessness and increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
Measure D was approved by 56 percent of Palm Springs voters last November.
In January, the city announced that Measure D’s passage allowed Palm Springs to hire a dozen additional public safety officers, including six firefighter paramedics, four downtown police officers and two police community service officers.
“With the passage of Measure D in November, Palm Springs is now able to increase our safety services,” City Manager David Ready said in January. “This is very good news and the city of Palm Springs would like to thank our residents for their continued support.”
Supporters said that despite the increase — which puts Palm Springs among the highest sales tax rates in the county — the city’s penchant for attracting tourists would generate the bulk of revenues. Opponents said the tax increase was just another among many recently implemented measures they believed proved ineffective in improving emergency services or homelessness solutions.
The average sales tax across the county is 7.75 percent, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which noted that the Palm Springs increase was the only Riverside County increase set to take effect in April.