Merced County sales tax increase to take effect in April

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The spike comes after voters approved a measure aimed at fixing Merced County roads and infrastructure. (KFSN)

In the North Valley, a sales tax increase will take effect at the beginning of April.

The spike comes after voters approved a measure aimed at fixing Merced County roads and infrastructure. If you were planning on buying some big ticket items like a car or appliance, you may want to do it soon.

The half-cent increase goes into effect this Saturday. And, in some areas, you'll be rung up with a more than 8 percent sales tax fee.

Wallets are feeling a little fuller as people receive their tax refunds, and Mario Sicairos says they reap the benefits because may of those refunded tax dollars are spent on big ticket items like cars

"We're doing pretty good actually," he said. "Top salesman has sold 22 cars this month."

However, starting in April, shoppers could take a hit as many areas see a sales tax increase.

"It's a .05 percent sales tax that's going to go and stay, local, and it's going to help with local roads," Merced County Supervisor Daron McDaniel said.

McDaniel says the increase comes after the passing of Measure V in November, he says it's expected to raise almost $4 million a year.

"It gives us local control," he said. "And when you become a self-help county, you can leverage those funds to get more from the state. If you're willing to put more skin in the game, the state is willing to back you up."

Merced County's rate is currently at 7.25 percent and, starting April 1, it will go up to 7.75 percent. That increase is also applied to some city's current rates - Merced, Los Banos, and Atwater's sales tax rate will go up to 8.25 percent - that's a half a percent increase.

Some people in Merced didn't now how soon the tax increase was going to take effect but say a half-cent increase isn't enough to deter them from shopping.

"They're essentials that you need to have, no matter the tax, you kind of need to go through that," shopper Andre Green said.

However, car dealerships say if you're planning to buy a big-ticket item like a car you might want to buy it before the new sales tax hits.

"Expect for every $10,000 you spend, it's going to be $1,000, now with taxes going up, it's going to be a little more," auto resources financier Juan Macias said.

Merced County expects the sales tax increase to raise more than $111 million within a 30-year period. The city of Madera will also see a half-cent increase as a result of Measure K.

It will now go up to 8.25 percent, and the money from the increase will go toward public safety.

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