Don Bauder 6:30 p.m., Aug. 21
New Proposal: Huge Hike in TOT Tax to Improve Infrastructure
Activists Katheryn Rhodes and Conrad Hartsell will present to the city council's rules committee Wednesday a plan to boost the Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel tax) from 10.5% to 15.5%. The increase would provide $73.5 million annually to spend on road repairs, regional parks, coastal projects, and restoration of public tidelands. Part of the package would be approval of a desalination plant and cistern. Also included would be a privately-funded professional football stadium and contiguous convention center expansion. If the private funding for the stadium and convention center expansion does not come through, the full increase will go to infrastructure. (My notation: private funding of the stadium, anyway, ain't gonna happen.)
Rhodes and Hartsell note that the purpose of the Transient Occupancy Tax is "to advance the City's economic health by promoting the City of San Diego as a visitor destination in the national and international marketplace, supporting programs that increase hotel occupancy and attract industry, resulting in the generation of [Transient Occupancy Tax] and other revenue, developing, enhancing, and maintaining visitor-related facilities, and supporting the City's cultural amenities and natural attractions." Cleaning up the City's sorry infrastructure would fall within those parameters, they believe.