Increases in sales and transient occupancy tax revenues in Santa Barbara show improved economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials said Thursday.
Santa Barbara collected $7.4 million in sales tax revenue for the final quarter in 2021. Collections for that period, which ended Dec. 31 and is the second quarter of the current fiscal year, were 32% higher than the same quarter in 2020.
Sales tax revenue for the fiscal year to date is $23.2 million.
Additionally, Santa Barbara reported collecting $2.6 million in transient occupancy tax revenue for March 2022. This amount was about $1.1 million higher than what was collected in March 2021, the city said.
Those revenues were also about 54% higher than pre-pandemic levels in March 2019 although officials attributed that rise to increased average daily rates which are about 50% higher than two years ago.
Thus far, Santa Barbara has collected $22.7 million in transient occupancy tax revenue in the current fiscal year with March being the ninth month of that year. The city’s adopted transient occupancy tax budget for the year is $23.4 million with $19.5 million budgeted in the general fund.
Occupancy levels in March were stabilizing to about pre-pandemic levels as more COVID restrictions were lifted, the city said in a news release.
Santa Barbara’s transient occupancy tax rate is 12% with 10% going to the general fund and the remaining 2% to the creeks and clean water fund.