Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

 

An affordable housing and school tax passed by voters in Santa Monica went into effect this week, raising the sales tax by half a percent to 9.75 percent.

Measures GSH raises money for affordable housing, reducing homelessness, school repairs and improvement, education and other general fund services. When proponents placed the measure on the ballot, they estimated it would raise $16 million a year that would stay in Santa Monica.

The City Council put Measure GS and GSH on the ballot in 2016 and it was supported by prominent civic group leaders. The money goes toward replacing lost funding from the dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California in 2012, which generated tens of millions to use toward affordable housing and other City improvements.

The tax stays in effect indefinitely or until repealed by voters.

Santa Monica’s sales tax will go up by half a percent once again July 1, a result of Measure M, a separate tax increase passed by Los Angeles County Voters in November. At that point, the sales tax in Santa Monica will have reached a state mandated cap at 10.25 percent, meaning Santa Monica sales will not go toward Measure H when it goes into effect.

A state law caps local sales taxes at no more than two percent above the state’s base rate of 7.25 percent, unless a jurisdiction receives a special legislative exemption. A pair of voter approved measures already on the books were issued a state exemption allowing municipalities in Los Angeles County to reach a 10.25 percent maximum.

kate@www.smdp.com