San Diego Convention Center
The San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego County Democratic Party has endorsed a local ballot initiative to raise the tax on hotel guests to fund expansion of the convention center, homeless services and street repairs.

The vote to support the Yes! For a Better San Diego measure took place at the party’s central committee meeting on Tuesday night.

“San Diego Democrats enthusiastically endorse this measure because it reflects the values of our party — creating good jobs for working families, addressing the needs of the most vulnerable by helping homeless San Diegans off the streets, and ensuring community benefits throughout,” said party Chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy.

“It delivers all of these benefits through a modest tax hike on those who can most afford it  — tourists and convention attendees,” he added.

A bipartisan group of organizations have endorsed the measure, including the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Veterans Village of San Diego, the Hotel-Motel Association, San Diego City Firefighters and Father Joe’s Villages.

The measure would increase the transient occupancy tax paid by visitors from 10.5% to as high as 15.75% in certain areas of San Diego to raise an estimated $6 billion over 42 years.

The City Council voted on Nov. 4 to pace the measure on the March ballot.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.