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    As I explained yesterday, the city attorney offered us a great view into the argument about whether the city’s 2 percent charge on hotel rooms is indeed a tax.

    If it’s a tax, then voters have to approve it. Voters twice rejected an increase to the hotel room tax in 2004.

    The city attorney believes that hotels pay the fee, not their guests. Since it’s a fee, then it can be imposed by the City Council without a vote.

    But the memo hasn’t arrived, even after five years, to the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego. Note how the Hard Rock describes the fee to its visitors on their bills:

     

    So, for the record, it’s not just me calling it a tax. It’s at least one hotel itself.

    This is an official request: If you or a family or friend has stayed in a major hotel in the city of San Diego in the last five years, can you share a copy of the bill? (Note, from now on, if it stands, the fee will be on all hotels. But over the last five years, it’s only been on large hotels. So you might not see it if you or your friend stayed in a small hotel.)

    Please, send them my way!

    I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

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      This article relates to: Government, Share
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      Written by Scott Lewis

      I'm Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it's a blast!): @vosdscott.

      12 comments
      Jim Jones
      Jim Jones subscriber

      Hey Scott, maybe you can get all the legal opinions for VOSD done by whoever programmed the Hard rock billing system. They probably charge a lot less than a real lawyer!

      Jim Jones
      Jim Jones

      Hey Scott, maybe you can get all the legal opinions for VOSD done by whoever programmed the Hard rock billing system. They probably charge a lot less than a real lawyer!

      David Cohen
      David Cohen subscriber

      With the loss of a collaborator mayor, Goldsmith's world is starting to fall apart. Now if the City Council would only start questioning the faulty, politically-motivated "legal" advice (in my opinion) his office gives them . . . .

      fryefan
      fryefan

      With the loss of a collaborator mayor, Goldsmith's world is starting to fall apart. Now if the City Council would only start questioning the faulty, politically-motivated "legal" advice (in my opinion) his office gives them . . . .

      Stephen Mccamman
      Stephen Mccamman subscriber

      Couldn't have said it better myself...quack, quack. The people's mayor is finally standing pu to entrenched interests. Read Paradise Plundered if you want the real story.

      paradiseplundered
      paradiseplundered

      Couldn't have said it better myself...quack, quack. The people's mayor is finally standing pu to entrenched interests. Read Paradise Plundered if you want the real story.

      Scott Lewis
      Scott Lewis administrator

      If it's a tax that others pay, like the basic hotel-room tax, well, it needs a vote. This seems to indicate that the hotel guest pays the fee. And the hotel guess does not benefit from increased tourism marketing.

      scottlewis
      scottlewis

      If it's a tax that others pay, like the basic hotel-room tax, well, it needs a vote. This seems to indicate that the hotel guest pays the fee. And the hotel guess does not benefit from increased tourism marketing.

      shawn fox
      shawn fox subscriber

      "The city attorney believes that hotels pay the fee, not their guests. " Are you sure that is the correct quote? Does he believe that businesses never pay taxes? What difference does it make who pays it? Obviously, both pay it. If the guests don't pay it, then why does it show up on the guest bill?

      shawn1874
      shawn1874

      "The city attorney believes that hotels pay the fee, not their guests. " Are you sure that is the correct quote? Does he believe that businesses never pay taxes? What difference does it make who pays it? Obviously, both pay it. If the guests don't pay it, then why does it show up on the guest bill?

      Don Wood
      Don Wood subscriber

      Good catch Scott. If it looks like a tax, walks like a tax, quacks like a tax and is listed on hotel receipts as a tax, its a tax.

      Don Wood
      Don Wood

      Good catch Scott. If it looks like a tax, walks like a tax, quacks like a tax and is listed on hotel receipts as a tax, its a tax.


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