Taxpayers vs. Chargers - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Taxpayers vs. Chargers

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Haney Hong, president of the County Taxpayers Association. Haney Hong, president of the County Taxpayers Association.

San Diego (KUSI) — The County Taxpayers Association is publicly calling the Chargers to appear before its board later this month and lay out details of their stadium plan.

It's a complex initiative, over 200 pages, and the association wants to analyze it and offer its analysis to the voters before they cast their votes in November.

A conflict in schedules has so far prevented this discussion. In its letter, the association would like a team representative to appear on August 19 and bring a copy of a study the team commissioned.

The letter mentions the study, which estimates the stadium/convention center annex will generate an additional $1.85 million room nights over 10 years.

"That's almost a quarter increase, 25 percent increase over what the Convention Center currently generates in terms of hotel room nights," said Haney Hong, who is the president of the County Taxpayers Association.

Hong said he wants to see the study that backs up that number to determine if it covers whatever bonds are issued to pay for construction of the stadium.

"The important thing is to make sure that we have the numbers, and we can take a look at where their numbers are coming from, I think at the taxpayers association, we've always been an independent voice and we want to make sure we look at it and take a look at the figures," he said.

The Chargers have said the city's general fund will not be at risk, but the numbers are estimates and if they don't pan out, 

"It puts the general fund potentially at risk for the city of San Diego, now we're talking about services, we're talking about infrastructure, the myriad other things that the general fund pays for," Hong said.

"The truth of the matter is when you have debt, you have debt, and you gotta pay back that debt otherwise the city itself, their credit rating goes down, money becomes more expensive for taxpayers to borrow. That's why its important to look at numbers from an objective standpoint," he added.

There are going to be more than 30 ballot measures before the voters in November and the Chargers Initiative is more than 200 pages, complex and difficult to understand for the average voter.

"The Taxpayers Association has always stood for transparency and making sure that the voters have the information they need to take a look at the propositions and proposals before them," Hong said.

The alternative Cory Briggs Plan, the Citizen's Plan for San Diego, has been before the association's board and so was the Focus Plan coming out of the East Village. The association hopes the Chargers will appear on August 19.

"We've got a long history of standing up for the taxpayer and doing some research, and it would be great for them to be part of the conversation to help form our analysis," Hong said.

The team is asking for more than $1 billion of public money for the stadium/convention center annex. The association wants to make sure the funds are there to pay for it.

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