Sales and Transient Taxes for Santa Barbara

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

Sales Tax Results for the City of Santa Barbara - Quarter Ended March 31, 2021 

The City of Santa Barbara received $5.5 million in sales tax revenue during the quarter ended March 31, 2021, which is 41% above the same quarter last year. This increase is largely a result of reduced economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related response that began in the first quarter of last year. By way of comparison, the March quarter is 2.2% higher than the March 2019 quarter two years ago. While a decline in nearly all economic sectors in the economy exists, the decline was offset by larger than expected increases in online sales, which resulted in higher sales tax than originally forecasted for the quarter ending March 2021.

As the second largest General Fund revenue, the sales tax budget for fiscal year 2021 is $22.2 million. Staff now project sales tax revenue will end the fiscal year at approximately $21.2 million, approximately 2% less than the budget. Sales tax results for the June quarter—the final quarter of the fiscal year—will be available in August 2021.

For additional information on recent sales tax results, click here.

Transient Occupancy Tax Results for the City of Santa Barbara – Month Ended April 30, 2021

The City of Santa Barbara collected $1,780,542 in transient occupancy taxes (TOT) for April 2021. TOT revenues in April 2021 were $1.7 million April collections last year—which was the month most significantly impacted by COVID-19 travel advisories. By way of comparison, compared to April 2019, April 2021 revenues were higher by 7%, however this is largely due to increased average daily rates, which are 55% higher than April 2019, with occupancy still slightly down 1.2%.

The local travel industry is beginning to see increases in demand for rooms relative to recent months that is likely to continue throughout the spring into the summer months as the State has lifted travel advisories and as access to vaccinations has become more available. However, TOT revenues have still not recovered to typical pre-pandemic levels, as there is still public concern with potential new strains of the virus, efficacy of the vaccines and the impacts to the economy.

The City has collected $11.4 million through the first ten months of the City’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30.  The City’s adopted TOT budget is $17.2 million.  TOT is projected to end the fiscal year at approximately $14.7 million, which is 15% below budget.

The Transient Occupancy Tax table can be viewed here.

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