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County Revenues and the Community's Needs

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. (May 21, 2018) – County governments receive the majority of their revenue through Federal and State funding streams, which are designated for specific purposes.  

The County acts as an agent of the State or Federal government in many of the responsibilities we carry out.  Public assistance and other safety net programs are examples.  Funding for these programs, and the direction on how to carry them out, comes from the Federal or State government.

Public revenues derived from tax dollars are distributed to local governments through formulas set at other levels of government.

As an illustration, the statewide base sales tax rate in California is 7.25%, meaning 7.25 cents are collected for every dollar spent on eligible purchases.  Of those 7.25 cents, 6 cents are used to fund State priorities.  An additional quarter cent must be used for roads.

Only 1 cent per taxable dollar spent is allocated to priorities entirely set by the local government.  In other words, only 1 cent is discretionary revenue.

There are unique needs in each locality that do not exist in others.  Each local economy is different and each group of people is different.  These needs also change over time; for example, few people worried about rural broadband internet access, and related potential inequities in education, in 1985.

Discretionary revenues, funds relied upon to meet local needs, are very limited.

To address this concern, 32 of the 58 California Counties (55%) have elected to increase their Sales Tax beyond the statewide base rate, as have more than 120 California Cities.  These cities include Clearlake and Lakeport, both of which have a Sales Tax rate of 8.75%.

Whereas many other funding streams are restricted to a particular purpose, the additional tax dollars raised by local Sales Tax measures can go directly toward areas of greatest local need.

Lake County’s local government seeks to listen to and understand the needs of the public, so we can provide the right services, at the right times, at the most appropriate cost.  County Administrative Officer, Carol J. Huchingson, has participated in more than twenty community meetings since January, and her office has recently reviewed written feedback and ideas from hundreds of Lake County residents.  The community’s vision has been adopted as our ten-year plan, Vision 2028.

Informative videos and other resources are available at http://www.lakecountyca.gov/vision/.  

Please take a few minutes to watch the videos, and email your comments to vision@lakecountyca.gov.