Ready or not, a special election is on its way in November. On the ballot will be Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed hotel tax hike to fund a Convention Center expansion, and help pay for road repairs and projects or services to alleviate San Diego’s homelessness crisis.
The bulk of the money raised through the tax hike would go toward the estimated $650 million bay-front expansion of the Convention Center.
Gil Cabrera, vice chair of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, joined the podcast this week to make the case for why voters should care about the size of the facility. He told hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts that a bigger Convention Center means more money for the city.
Cabrera said the center has a huge economic impact, but because of its current size can’t host two big conventions concurrently, which means lost revenue.
“As more and more of these high-value conventions drop off the rotation for San Diego, you’re going to have a full center that makes less money and that’s the fear if we keep it where it is today,” he said.
Plus, he said, since the money would be pulled from the hotel tax, tourists would be paying for the expansion while residents would reap the financial rewards (if that sounds familiar, it’s because the Chargers used the same argument when they tried to get voters to build them a new downtown stadium).