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Hotelier-Funded Taxpayers Association Announces New Ads against Measures C and D

by Kristen Henderson, published

San Diego, CALIF. - The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) and the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association have joined forces to speak out against Measures C and D.

SDCTA is now working on behalf of the hoteliers to defeat Measures C and D. Estimates put the hoteliers’ investment at $100,000 to defeat both measures.

At a news conference Thursday, SDCTA President Haney Hong, alongside the Hotel Association Executive Director Namara Mercer and San Diego Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi, unveiled new “NO on C and D” video and radio ads that will start airing in San Diego less than 3 weeks before Election Day.

Hotel owners criticize C and D because both raise the Transient Occupancy Tax (aka the “Hotel Tax”), something the hoteliers and the tourism marketing district claim will hurt the tourism economy in San Diego.

Measure C would raise the TOT rate to 16.5%. Measure D would set the rate at 15.5%. Of note, the latter rate was the same number hoteliers pegged as a good figure for the local tourism economy years ago.

At 15.5%, San Diego’s TOT would still be lower than Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Francisco. According to several reports, all three cities have seen an increase in tourism-related dollars over the last decade.

Historically, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association has not taken positions on land use decisions unless there were “significant fiscal implications.” The SDCTA staff recommended taking a “neutral position” on Measure D after conducting a thorough review of the initiative in August. However, the SDCTA board decided against staff recommendations and issued an official opposition to the measure.

On Thursday, Hong said the Taxpayers Association is not opposed to the Chargers, but called Measures C and D “one-sided” and a “bad deal for taxpayers.”

If passed, Measure D would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the construction of a new downtown football stadium, though it would create an entertainment zone where a downtown stadium could be built with another vote. If the Chargers depart Mission Valley, D would reimagine the 162 acres of the Qualcomm Stadium site for higher education and park lands.

Measure C doesn’t contemplate Mission Valley and is solely focused on downtown.

Image: Hotel Association’s Executive Director Namara Mercer (left). San Diego Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi (middle), and SDCTA President Haney Hong (right)

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