Elk Grove is like a lot of previously-growing suburbs these days: a city with a lot less money in the bank, due in large part to a drop in sales tax revenue. Officials hope this $250,000 stimulus program will get some of that money back. Mayor Pat Hume:
Hume: “You get the benefit from not only the sales tax off the car, but also the licensing fees. Then hopefully, the sales tax from the businesses would also help out.”
But that last part only works if car buyers spend the gift cards within Elk Grove. Under state law, they can cash those cards in – or, if the cards are from chain stores, use them anywhere.
The League of California Cities says at least three other cities have similar programs. Tracy started its stimulus in early May – and economic development director Ursula Luna-Reynosa says it’s working.
Luna-Reynosa: “In talking with the auto dealers, right after the first two months of the launching of the program May 6th, some of the dealers had doubled the volume of their sales.”
Out of 800 available gift cards, Luna-Reynosa says, only around 50 remain. She says many of them went to people who live outside Tracy.