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I touched base yesterday with Mike Shelton, assistant city manager in El Cajon, and Gary Ameling, finance director in La Mesa, for this story to see how they thought Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed sales tax increase might affect their cities.

First, they said, the tax hike is far from a done deal. Legislators earlier this year voted down a sales tax increase the governor had suggested. They might do so again.

But, I said, there’s still a possibility that your residents start paying 10 cents on the dollar or more on their purchases. Here’s how they responded.

Here’s Shelton, from El Cajon, which stands to see its sales tax rate rise to 10.25 cents on the dollar:

I’m not an economist so I can’t say exactly what the impact’s going to be, but everything I’m reading shows the current economy is not going to turn around real soon. With reduced revenues and the difficult economy, this 1.5 additional sales tax is not going to be positive, there’s no doubt about that.

Ameling, in La Mesa, emphasized that the city didn’t want to raise its tax rate but also didn’t want to see its services reduced. Looking at a potential 10-cent sales tax rate if the governor’s increase is approved, Ameling added this:

My reaction is that I’ll believe it when I’ll see it. If it does happen, I certainly would be concerned.

KELLY BENNETT

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