Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 7:16 pm | Fair 73º


Local News

City of Santa Barbara Sees a Decline in Sales and Bed Tax Revenues

The city of Santa Barbara finished the second quarter of this fiscal year with sales-tax revenues dipping, and closed out the month of February with decreasing bed tax revenues.

Through Dec. 31, the city had generated about $5.7 million in sales tax, a 1.3 percent decrease over the same quarter last year, according to the city’s treasurer’s office report.

The sales tax budget for this year, estimated at $22.4 million, is the second largest source of Santa Barbara’s General Fund revenue.

“It’s reflective of either fewer people coming to visit or fewer people spending money who are visiting or living in Santa Barbara,” said City Finance Director Bob Samario. “We don’t have any idea why — revenues from sales taxes depend on how many people come to visit and people who shop in Santa Barbara.”

Since sales tax revenues are received quarterly from the state and one quarter in arrears, the city receives the second quarter results for each fiscal year in March.

March also marks the second sales tax payment for the 2017 fiscal year.

With two-quarters received, sales tax revenue are approximately $11.2 million,  according to a news release.

The finalized sales tax results for the March quarter will be available in June.

The report released by budget officers this week also revealed Santa Barbara collected approximately $1.1 million in Transient Occupancy Taxes, also known as bed taxes, for the month of February, representing a 9.5-percent decline compared to February 2016.

“Bed tax is a function of fewer people saying at the hotels,” Samario said.

Above-average rainfall, including a large storm before a three-day weekend, was noted as a contribution to this large decline, according to a news release. 

The city has gathered approximately $12.7 million in TOT revenues for the first eight months of this fiscal year. 

The TOT budget for the 2017 fiscal year— which runs from July 1 through June 30 — is $19.8 million.

With the decreases, Samario said, it could “slightly” affect the city’s budget.

City staff keeps a close look at the trends and analyzes them to make a budget recommendation, he said.

“The trends have been hit-and-miss — mostly miss in the recent last year,” Samario said. “If we see negative trends then we have to adjust our revenues accordingly, which means we can’t count on those revenues to support services.”

Samario said the most recent recession resulted in program cuts for the city.

“We had a major decline in revenues for over a year, and had to make substantial reductions to our programs and services — that’s not the case,” Samario said. “These are not major impacts.”

Santa Barbara releases revenue information on its monthly Transient Occupancy Tax and quarterly sales tax collections.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >