Facts About the Initiative

A Citizen Initiative

Key Elements

Increases the City of San Diego Transient Occupancy Tax or “visitor tax” (which is currently 10.5 percent) paid by overnight visitors to local lodging facilities from 1.25 to 3.25 percent depending upon the location of the facility. It takes effect January 1, 2019.

Earmarks proceeds for following uses:

  • Reducing Homelessness: raises $2 billion over the life of the measure for programs to reduce homelessness.
  • Repairing Streets: provides more than $600 million over the life of the measure to repair and improve citywide streets.
  • Expanding Tourism Economy: funds the modernization and expansion of the SD Convention Center which is the economic engine for tourism.

Forbids the City from reducing current expenditures for homeless and street repair programs.

Forbids the use of new funds for any other purpose. No “bait and switch” will be permitted with these funds.

Requires annual independent audits to ensure funds are spent as intended.

Is strongly supported and sponsored by tourism and lodging businesses.

Background

A broad coalition of tourism leaders, lodging interests, homeless advocates, working families and community activists is sponsoring an initiative called Yes! For a Better San Diego.” The initiative addresses three important local issues of great concern to San Diego residents and tourism businesses: the growing homeless crisis, the overall poor condition of city streets, and outdated tourism facilities.

The “Better San Diego” measure will increase the tax paid by overnight visitors to San Diego and NOT by local residents. The visitor tax increase will range from 1.25 percent for lodging facilities on the periphery of the city to 3.25 percent for those located in the downtown area.

The overwhelming majority of local residents agree that homelessness is a crisis in our community. Citywide surveys have shown a consistent and troubling increase in homelessness each year. There are now thousands of homeless women, children, veterans and others sleeping on our streets, in alleyways, under freeway overpasses, in city parks, and other venues.

The recent Hepatitis A outbreak (which to date has cost 20 people their lives) is just one of many examples of the humanitarian, public health, and public safety threat posed by the homeless crisis.

Our hope is that this measure will mark a turning point in the homeless crisis in San Diego. Over the first five years alone it will generate more than $140 million for new efforts to reduce homelessness and raise more than $2 billion dollars to reduce homelessness over the life of the measure. This infusion of money will get people off the streets and into shelters. It will fund counseling and assistance to women, children, veterans and others who have no place to turn to today.

This measure will provide a long-term stream of money that can be used to fund bonds that provide permanent housing solutions. It also creates a Citizen Advisory Committee to provide advice and oversight to city leaders on how these new funds should be spent.

The poor condition of our city streets is also a major concern of local residents and tourism businesses. Hundreds of local residents contact City Hall each year to complain about potholes and street related issues. Visitors and tourists comment loudly and repeatedly about the poor condition of our streets and related infrastructure.

This measure will help bring our streets up to the standards of a modern city. It will generate an estimated $600 million for street and infrastructure repair over the life of the measure. It will lock in CURRENT city expenditures for street repair to ensure the city does not divert current road repair funds to unrelated issues.

The San Diego Convention Center needs tens of millions of dollars in upgrades, repairs and modernization efforts. We are now losing long standing customers to competitive markets in Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Francisco due to inadequate space or because we can no longer accommodate them as they grow.

This measure will use visitor revenues to modernize and expand the Convention Center. It will significantly expand our tourism economy by helping us accommodate current large customers such as Comic-Con and by attracting new conventions and meetings to our city. Independent studies suggest a modern, expanded Convention Center will create an estimated 6,900 permanent new local jobs and add $10-$15 million to the City’s General Fund every year. This new money can be used to pay for police, fire, park, senior and other urgent city needs.

“Yes! For a Better San Diego” will NOT be paid by city residents. It will be paid by overnight visitors to local lodging facilities. “Yes! For a Better San Diego” earmarks new revenues exclusively for the efforts to reduce homelessness, improve our streets, and expand our tourism economy. It requires annual independent audits to ensure funds are spent as intended.

For more information about “Yes! For a Better San Diego” please contact us online at www.Yes4SD.com.

Paid for by “YES! For a Better San Diego” – supported by a coalition of downtown tourism and lodging organizations, civic and community activists and homeless advocates. Sponsored by the San Diego Lodging Industry Association and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

Paid for by "Yes! For a Better San Diego" - supported by a coalition of downtown tourism and lodging organizations, civic and community activists and homeless advocates. Sponsored by the San Diego Lodging Industry Association and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. 7185 Navajo Road Suite P, San Diego CA 92119. With major funding from Sunstone Park Leasee LLC (San Diego Bayfront Hilton), Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego) and CCMH San Diego LLC dba San Diego Marian Marriott.