OAKLAND (CBS SF) – As of Wednesday it is more expensive to shop in parts of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

Buy something in Hayward and you’re going to get whacked with a 10% sales tax. Take a few steps outside the city limits and the tax is a half cent cheaper.

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“A sales tax could scare businesses,” said Jessica Cuevas of 25 25 Vintage. “If it keeps increasing the way it does, it could have a negative effect on Hayward.”

Cuevas says downtown Hayward is just coming back and another sales tax is the last thing a city trying to turn around needs.

Last summer, Hayward voters added half a cent to the city’s sales tax. Measure C passed with an overwhelming 68% approval. In the fall, Alameda County’s Measure BB raised it another half cent, bringing sales tax in Hayward to today’s 10 percent.


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City spokesperson Frank Holland says it could mean $10 million more for the city to hire more police and build better roads.

“People were saying ‘we want to invest in our community and get these things done,'” said Holland.

If you buy a new $25,000 car in Albany, Hayward, El Cerrito, Union City or San Leandro you’ll pay $250 more in sales tax.

“Buying something relatively expensive…that percent will determine a lot,” said shopper Jon Payne, who admits the increase is small, but could add up. “That could be the difference in diapers or food for your kid.”

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Soon, sales tax could go even higher. There’s a bill in the legislature that would allow cities to add one percent to their sales tax.