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Survey finds support for sales tax increase in Arroyo Grande 

Arroyo Grande is the latest in a string of SLO County cities working to find out whether their residents would support a sales tax increase. For the city of Arroyo Grande, things are off to a good start.

According to the results of a survey conducted by True North Research in November 2019, roughly 55 percent of 541 residents surveyed said they would support a 1 percent general sales tax increase. About 27 percent of those supportive respondents said they would definitely support the measure, and 33 percent of all residents surveyed said they would oppose it.

click to enlarge DEATH AND TAXES An Arroyo Grande survey indicates support for a city sales tax increase. - SCREENSHOT COURTESY THE CITY OF ARROYO GRANDE
  • Screenshot Courtesy The City Of Arroyo Grande
  • DEATH AND TAXES An Arroyo Grande survey indicates support for a city sales tax increase.

Tim McLarney, president of True North Research, presented the findings at Arroyo Grande's City Council meeting on Jan. 28, and said that even considering the survey's 4 percent margin of error, it's clear that a tax increase would likely be approved by the city's voters.

"I think it's got a better than reasonable chance of success," McLarney said at the meeting, adding that as a general tax, the measure would only need a simple majority to pass.

Still, he said, as promising as the survey results are, the city still has work to do if it wants this measure to pass.

When presented with a list of 12 services that could be funded by the revenue raised by the tax hike, residents surveyed said they were most interested in seeing improved maintenance of streets, public buildings, sidewalks, storm drains, and parks and recreation facilities. Respondents also expressed interest in funding fire and emergency medical response services.

If the city decides to put this measure on the ballot, McLarney said it needs to be clear to voters whether these wanted services would be funded by the tax revenue.

"You don't want to surprise them with this," he said. "That's usually a recipe for disaster." Δ

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