San Diego, CALIF.- Mayor Kevin Faulconer proposed a hotel tax hike to pay for a convention center expansion during his annual State of the City address on Thursday night.
The mayor also briefly addressed the Chargers decision on Thursday to leave San Diego for Los Angeles by criticizing the team’s owner. Faulconer said, “At the end of the day, Dean Spanos was never willing to work with us on a stadium solution and demanded a lot more money than we could have agreed to,” Faulconer said. “We live in a great city and we will move forward."
As for the convention center expansion. Faulconer said he would propose increasing the tax on room rates from 12.5 percent to 16 percent.
Most of the new money, some 70-million, would be devoted to the convention center expansion, with the remainder split between homelessness programs and street repair.
The mayor said he’s confident a ballot measure focused on multiple initiatives that poll well with voters can get the two-thirds support necessary for approval. He also said, the expansion would be along the waterfront. “This is the only legitimate plan that guarantees we can move forward with this critical project." Joe Terzi, chief executive of the San Diego Tourism Authority, was pleased with the Mayor's rhetoric. “"We are absolutely ecstatic about the mayor's commitment," Terzi said. "Now that the Chargers issues is off the table the mayor has an opportunity to make sure there is an opportunity for us to expand the center. It’s one of the only centers in the country that can expand itself and be full the next day." Attorney Cory Briggs, who has fought the expansion along the waterfront, was critical of the proposal. Briggs noted on his Twitter account, "that’s a waste of time. Pursue that folly on the private dime, not the public's dime.”