Calif. sales tax rises to almost 9 percent

March 31, 2009 6:03:40 PM PDT
California residents will pay one of the highest sales taxes in the nation after a 1-percent tax hike goes into effect to help the state bridge a record $41.6 billion budget deficit. The state's sales tax increases to 6 percent on Wednesday, bringing the average local rate to almost 9 percent. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Tax Foundation says the median rate of state and local sales taxes was 5.5 percent nationwide at the start of 2009.

The temporary hike on goods such as cars, furniture, laptops and toys is expected to bring in an estimated $5.8 billion before it expires July 2011. It's part of the state's plan to help stave off cuts to education and health care.

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