Council members have yet to decide how large the tax increase would be - either a quarter-cent or a half-cent - or whether to include a sunset clause.
If it lands on the ballot, the city's sales tax would join three statewide tax initiatives - including the one backed by Governor Jerry Brown.
Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is a former Sacramento city council member himself. He's concerned about voters seeing too many tax measures this fall - and says the governor's is the most important.
Steinberg: "I wouldn't second-guess what the city is doing, because they have some very direct needs. I understand it. But in the big picture, we just have to be careful."
Mayor Kevin Johnson and business groups oppose placing the measure on the ballot. Several council members support it. The item requires a two-thirds vote of the council.