A citizen group seeking to raise San Diego’s total current hotel taxes by 3 percent, to 15.5 percent, said it has gathered 100,845 voter signatures for an election measure targeted for the November ballot.
A statement from the group, known formally as Citizens for the Responsible Management of Major Tourism and Entertainment Resources, said the group submitted the signatures to the county Registrar of Voters on April 27.
The group’s measure would need to have a minimum of approximately 66,000 registered city voter signatures validated by the city clerk’s office, likely sometime in the next 30 days, in order to qualify for the ballot. Following validation, San Diego City Council would also need to vote on whether to place the issue before voters in November.
The Citizens’ Plan for San Diego, backed by a group that includes attorney Cory Briggs and former city council member Donna Frye, would raise the current transient occupancy tax on hotel room bills from 10.5 percent to 15.5 percent. It would also eliminate a separate existing 2 percent city Tourism Marketing District (TMD) fee.
“Reaching our signature goal is important in many ways,” Frye said in the statement. “The public gets to vote on tourist taxes for the first time in over a decade and we have the opportunity to reform our tourism industry by providing incentives to protect the resources that make San Diego a great place to visit.”
The proposal is intended to generate at least $18 million annually in new revenue that would go directly to the city’s general fund. Contingent on separate future voter approvals, money later could be used for civic projects such as a non-contiguous downtown convention center expansion, a Chargers stadium or hybrid stadium-convention facility, or civic improvements to the current Mission Valley site of Qualcomm Stadium.
If it is approved for the Nov. 8 election, the Citizens’ Plan could be competing directly on the same ballot with a similar measure backed by the San Diego Chargers, aimed at raising total current hotel taxes by 4 percent, to 16.5 percent, to finance the building of a $1.8 billion downtown hybrid stadium with convention facilities. That measure would also eliminate the existing TMD tax.
Backers of that plan, known formally as Citizens for Sports, Entertainment and Tourism, with major funding by Chargers Football Company LLC, recently launched their own drive to gather the minimum 66,000 voter signatures.