California first imposed a sales tax of 2.5 percent in 1933. It has changed 19 times since then, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
In 1962, when the state rate was 3 percent another percentage point was added to support local government. In 2017, the rate was set at 6 percent for the state and 1.25 percent for local government, where it stands today.
In 1989, San Bernardino County voters approved Measure I, a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for transportation improvements. In 2004, county voters overwhelmingly supported an extension of the tax through 2040. The county base rate stands at 7.75 percent, which is the rate in Highland.
Redlands’ Measure T on the Nov. 3 ballot would add another 1 cent to the sales tax, which would bring the city’s rate to 8.75 percent.
Four of the 24 cities in San Bernardino County have added to the base rate, including the city of San Bernardino where voters approved a .25 percent increase in 2018. Twelve of the 28 cities in Riverside County have added taxes — all stand at 8.75 percent except Palm Springs, which is at 9.25 percent.
As of April 1, 2017, 176 of the state’s 482 cities and 32 of its 58 counties have added taxes beyond the statewide base of 7.25 percent, according to CaliforniaFinance.Com.
According to the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, 42 cities have a sales tax rate of 10 percent or higher — all in Los Angeles County. The highest sales tax in the state is Santa Fe Springs, a LA County city with a rate of 10.50 percent.
The average sales tax rate in California is 8.68 percent, according to the Tax Foundation. Forty-five states collect sales taxes. The highest statewide tax is 9.55 percent in Tennessee.