By Kelly Ryan

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento could be home to one of the highest sales tax rates in the state under a proposed measure Mayor Darrell Steinberg is trying to put on the November ballot.

Steinberg says he will ask voters to permanently raise the city’s sales tax to 1 percent in a ballot measure while mentioning public safety and helping the poor as possible uses.

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“We have great aspirations in the city, but limited tools to achieve it,” he said. “If we can go to the tax base, if we can create more jobs, create more revenue for police, fire and parks.”

Critics argue voters aren’t getting the real story on where most of the funds will be spent. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says the city isn’t being transparent.

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“This particular proposal, even though they don’t mention it, so much of it is going to pay down Sacramento unfunded pension obligations,” said spokesman Jon Coupal. “Every year, Sacramento is paying a greater percentage of its general fund toward pension obligation, and I think people need to be aware of that.”

The idea will go before the Sacramento City Council budget committee on June 12, and after that, he says he’ll be pushing the campaign out in the community. The mayor says he’ll be focusing on the message of improving Sacramento neighborhoods, especially the disadvantaged ones.

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