Supporters Of Initiative To Increase Hotel Tax Revenue Say It Would Generate $2B For Homelessness
A proposed ballot initiative to increase hotel tax revenue would generate $3.78 billion to expand and update the downtown convention center, $2.02 billion for homelessness services and $604 million for street repairs over four decades, according to projections released Tuesday by supporters.
The Yes! For a Better San Diego campaign released the data, which comes from a report completed by CIC Research.
Supporters hope to get the measure on the November ballot that, if approved by voters, would increase the visitor tax on hotel bills by 1.25 percent to 3.25 percent. Hotels closest to the convention center would see the largest hike.
During the first years of the tax increase, which would last 42 years, 59 percent of revenues would go toward the convention center and 41 percent to homelessness programs. Between 2025 and 2061, 59 percent would go toward the center, 31 percent to homelessness programs and 10 percent to city street repairs.
Supporters include hospitality industry leaders, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Father Joe Carroll of Father Joe's Villages, Bob McElroy of the Alpha Project and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.
They say the measure would offer long-term solutions to some of the city's most vexing problems.
"This is a really unprecedented coalition of individuals and groups coming together around creating a funding mechanism that addresses issues of incredible significance and is designed to both improve quality of life and continue to grow economic prosperity," said Robert Gleason, president and chief executive of Evans Hotels, which owns The Lodge at Torrey Pines and other local hotels. "They deserve to be addressed in a comprehensive and lasting way."
The campaign says the upgrades to — and expansion of — the convention center would generate $40 billion in economic activity over the life of the measure and create about 7,000 jobs.
The campaign expects to begin gathering signatures on Feb. 1 for the question to appear on the ballot.
The City Council is considering another ballot question proposed by Councilman David Alvarez that would earmark existing hotel tax revenue exclusively for homelessness prevention and housing programs.