Mayor Faulconer proposes increase to TOT tax to fund convention center expansion
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — City hall is once again eying an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
The latest proposal coming out of city hall has a new twist. Mayor Faulconer would like to raise the tax on hotel rooms to pay not only for a bigger convention center but also pay for two hot button issues: Fixing San Diego’s aging streets and roads, and Creating a dedicated source of funding to fight homelessness.
Right now, hotel guests are charged an additional 12 and a half percent. The Transient Occupancy Tax or "TOT" for short is 10 and a half percent, another 2 percent is tacked on for tourism marketing.
Under the mayor’s proposal the hotel tax could go up by another 1-3 percent.
Joe Terzi is the head of the San Diego Tourism Authority, to ensure the future business of large conventions like comic-con, Terzi says expanding the bayfront facility is essential.
A ballot measure that bundles additional funds to fix our streets and help the homeless could give the city a bigger platform for voter approval.
"We believe putting this comprehensive measure on the ballot as soon as possible is in the best interest of the city," Said Mayor Faulconer.
"If city council agrees to take the expansion issue to the ballot, there’s the question of when it will go to the voters, in November as part of a general election or perhaps earlier, if the city decides to call a special election."
A longer delay will add more to the cost of construction, but the head of the San Diego County Tax Payers Association says a special election is no bargain.
Taxpayer advocate Haney Hong says any initiative needs to be reviewed carefully, if tax money is going to fight homelessness, just how will that money be used?