The City Council will discuss today the notion of a ballot measure in November to raise the sales tax in the city.
While the council will not yet vote on whether to place a measure on the ballot, some council members have already expressed support for a tax increase to fund core city services, including police protection, firefighters and parks.
Mayor Kevin Johnson does not appear to support a tax increase. Speaking at an event showcasing the production of energy-efficient air conditioners by Sacramento-based Beutler Corporation, Johnson told reporters this morning he would rather seek to solve the city's budget problems through economic development and job creation.
"I'm not one to be inclined to think a tax is the best thing to do," he said.
A poll commissioned by the city showed strong support for a general purpose sales tax increase of either one-quarter of a cent or one-half of a cent. General purpose tax increases need just a simple majority to pass.
A half-cent sales tax would generate an estimated $26 million annually for the city. The city's deficit this year is $15.7 million.
While the poll also showed support for passing a special purpose tax - one that funds a specific service - those taxes require a two-thirds majority to pass.
Some council members have said that convincing the public to approve a tax increase would be an easier task if the city is able to win pension givebacks from the public safety unions.