In the Nov. 6, 2012 election, Marin County voters overwhelmingly backed a countywide quarter-cent sales tax increase, the latest resounding show of support for Marin's parks, open space and farmlands that dominate the county's geography.
Five months later, that tax hike kicks in this week, sending sales tax rates up to 9 percent in Novato, San Rafael and Fairfax and to 8.5 percent in the rest of the county.
The countywide quarter-cent sales tax hike is expected to raise approximately $10 million a year and was placed on the ballot by the Marin County Board of Supervisors in August 2012 after a lengthy rollout.
Sixty-five percent ($6.5 million) of the revenue will be used to protect or restore natural resources and maintain county parks and open space preserves.
Twenty percent, or $2 million, goes toward preserving farmland and ranches from development and subdivision, and 15 percent ($1.5 million) would be directed to municipalities and special districts to manage their parks, open space preserves and recreation programs and reduce wildfire risk.
A small portion of the tax would go toward protecting properties along the Bay from development and to acquire strategic properties as a wildlife corridor, according to parks officials.
California's base sales tax rate is 7.5 percent. In 2004, Marin voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for transportation projects. Four years later, Marin voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax hike to pay for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train and pushing the countywide rate to 8.25 percent.
In November 2010, Novato voters approved Measure F, a five-year, half-cent sales tax boost. A committee overseeing the revenue generated by the tax said in Sept. 2012 that the tax had generated $4.1 million in its first year, $1.1 million more than budgeted.
Which brings us to April 2013. The sales tax rate in Novato is now 9 percent.
Do you care? Are your sales tax dollars being well spent? Is 9 percent too high? What sales tax rate would be too high? Tell us in the Comments below.
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