SANTA BARBARA — The city of Santa Barbara received 30% less sales tax revenue during a recent quarter, while bed taxes were also significantly down in recent months.
The city received approximately $3.79 million in sales tax revenues during the quarter that ended March 31, a 28% decrease from the same quarter last year, said Jennifer Tomaszewski, interim finance director for the city.
The decrease is due to the reduced economic activity in the final weeks of the quarter, which is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and related response. In addition, the state provided relief to many small businesses by extending the deadline to file sales tax returns from April until July, which allows some businesses to spread those payments over the ensuing 12 months. The city’s sales tax budget for the fiscal year is $23,773,382, the second largest general fund revenue.
The sales tax results for the June quarter will be available in August, Ms. Tomaszewski said.
The city also reported collecting approximately $553,337 in transient occupancy taxes for March, which is 62% below revenues received over the same time period last year. During April, the city collected just $114,846 in transient occupancy taxes, a staggering 93% below April 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and related response has severely affected the travel industry worldwide, and hotels in Santa Barbara were no exception, seeing drastically reduced revenues as a result,” Ms. Tomaszewski said.
Transient occupancy tax, also known as bed tax, is charged to guests at short-term rentals such as hotels and motels.
The city has collected $13.9 million in TOT revenues through the first ten months of this fiscal year, which runs through June 30. The city’s adopted TOT budget is $19,989,179.