Downtown San Diego is a beautiful place to live but what’s one thing you can name at the top of your head that’s a burden to the community? Homelessness. Yes, we can all agree that when walking on the streets of downtown, it’s everywhere. This problem has been an issue the city has been dealing with for years, but luckily there’s a whole team out there trying to help. YES! For a better San Diego is “a broad coalition of tourism leaders, lodging interests, homeless advocates, working families and community activists.”
On April 13, 2018 members of the Downtown Partnership gathered together in support for Yes! For A Better San Diego. The overall goal for this measure is to “dedicate $2 billion to reducing homelessness, $600 million to repair aging streets, and – by modernizing and expand the San Diego Convention Center – would drive more than $40 billion into San Diego’s local economy.” Yes, that’s a lot of money and if you’re not affected by it why pay for it? Luckily, if you’re a San Diego resident you won’t be affected because YES! For A Better San Diego will be collecting their revenue from collecting taxes (10.5%) from overnight visitors at local lodging facilities.
There’s no denying that the homelessness is one of San Diego’s top issues that remains in our community. The situation has gotten worse within the last year especially in 2017. The homeless crisis lost 20 lives due to the recent Hepatitis A outbreak. These are prime examples of the humanitarian, public health and public safety that needs to re-evaluated.
YES! For A Better San Diego believes that the expansion and upgrades to the convention center will be an asset for the community. Modernizing and upgrading the Convention Center would create “an estimated 6,900 permanent new local jobs and add $10-15 million to the City’s General Fund every year.” With the new income coming in, the city would be able to use the money for urgent needs such as paying for police, fire and park to name a few.
- 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.