Sales tax hike now in effect
• Proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, approved by 55 percent of the voters on Nov. 6.
• Applies higher rates to state residents making more than $250,000 for income tax returns. Higher rates last for seven years.
• Sales tax raises by one-quarter of 1 cent starting Tuesday, increasing the price 1 cent for every $4 spent. Higher rates last for four years.
• Expected to bring in $8.5 billion in first year and $6 billion in later years for the state.
• Revenues to be split 89 percent for K-12, 11 percent for community colleges.
• Guarantees funding from other sources for criminal justice realignment.
Short of going out of state, California consumers cannot avoid the new quarter-cent sales tax increase that went into effect on Tuesday.
Consumers started paying 1 cent more in sales tax for every $4 spent.
And at least in Tehama County, merchants do not seem to be terribly concerned that the increase will impact sales.
"I doubt it will have a major impact. I think people will be happy to help since the increase is for schools," said Hannah Boeldt, manager of Olive Pit in Corning.
Even car dealerships, at which the purchase of a $40,000 car would add only $100 to the sales tax, are fairly confident the impact will be minor if anything at all.
"I don't know yet," said Paul Sutfin, general sales manager for Corning Ford. "I'll know more in a couple of weeks."
Ben Pforsich, owner of McCoy's Hardware in Corning, said because his store doesn't sell "big ticket items," he doesn't see the sales tax increase to be a problem.
Prop. 30 also raises the income tax rate on those who make $250,000 or more over the next seven years.
The measure is expected to generate billions in new revenue — $8.5 billion in the first year alone — with the funds earmarked primarily for schools up through community college.
However, the measure also created a constitutional funding protection for state realignment, a program by which low-level felony offenders serve sentences in countty jails rather than state prisons.
It also sends some parolees back to county Probation Departments to handle.
Gov. Jerry Brown has promised the state will pay for the realignment mandate, but he also made it very clear during the campaign that Prop. 30 was designed to help the schools. How the Prop. 30 funds are ultimately split will be under a watchful eye of schools and county officials alike.
Moreover, the state budget is projects to have another deficit for the 2013-14 fiscal year, officials reported, so there has been some concern that the state will "rob" that funding source for other purposes.
Opponents of the measure campaigned on a platform that there is no guarantee the taxes generated will go to schools as promoted.
State voters approved the initiative with 55.3 percent of the vote, although in Tehama County, the measure failed with 62.27 percent voting against the propositon.