A one percent increase in the amount of sales tax that California consumers pay on most purchases goes into effect today, rasing the rate from a minimum of 7.25% to at least 8.25% statewide.
California's sales tax increase will send the rate even higher than 8.25% in some counties. As the Los Angeles Times reports, in a number of California counties residents are already paying sales tax at the 8.25% rate, due to city and county-level add-ons to the state rate. So for some Californians, the one percent increase will push the sales tax over nine percent, and people in places like Pico Rivera and South Gate will end up paying 10.25% in sales tax as of April 1st.
California's sales tax increase is a temporary measure that is intended to help the financially-strapped state government increase its revenue. The new sales tax rate will expire in July 2011 or July 2012, depending on how state voters cast their ballots on a number of issues in a statewide May election, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle also reports that some consumers are turning to online shopping, "where often they can skirt state taxes if retailers fail to add those charges to the total sales costs," and "[s]ome retailers said they noticed an uptick in sales recently as consumers tried to get in under the wire."