ALAMEDA COUNTY (KPIX 5) – As of Thursday, sales tax rates in Alameda County have gone up, pushing them to the highest in the state. While the money is now getting collected, a taxpayers' group is still fighting to stop it.
"Well, you can see the number up here is $69.99, which is what I thought I was going to pay," said a Dublin shopper named Robert, who was buying a television for his mother. "Obviously, I knew that was gonna be some tax."
In Dublin and through much of the county, that would be the new rate of 10.25%.
"I was surprised by the amount of that tax," Robert said.
It would have been higher, if he had done his shopping at the same store in Union City.
"$2.15, for a $20 mouse," said Kathy. "Pretty ridiculous."
Union City is among the six Alameda cities with a sales tax of 10.75%. That means they all share the distinction of having the highest sales tax in California, at least for the moment.
Other cities with 10.75% sales tax rates include Alameda, Albany, Hayward, Newark and San Leandro.
"So that's what we're challenging, is that the county is intentionally trying to get around Prop 218, that requires a 2/3 voter approval," explains attorney Jason Bezis.
The Alameda County Taxpayers' Association is challenging the sales tax hike on multiple grounds, so the additional taxes now getting collected cannot be spent.
"The state is requiring all of that money to go into escrow accounts," Bezis says. "So it's gonna be held there. The county can't spend the money until all the lawsuits are completed."
But shoppers will be paying it at the register. Lan Liu, in the City of Alameda, said small business owners are worried about it driving away traffic. As for customers, Liu said many did not see it coming.
"Most customers, they say 'Oh really,'" Liu said. "So it seems they did not get the notice, they did not know about it."
for more features.