LOS ANGELES — San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is taking another stab at getting voters to approve a hotel tax.
This time, the goal is to create a revenue stream to back bonds to finance a convention center expansion, pay for homeless services and repair streets.
Faulconer, a Republican, wants to ask voters in November to raise hotel taxes from 1% to 3% for 40 years, depending on proximity to the shorefront convention center.
His proposal would result in the city issuing short term notes in fiscal year 2019 to pay for convention center construction to be taken out by 30-year bonds in fiscal year 2020. Work would begin in July 2019 on the expansion and take 44 months.
The mayor also wants to use the revenue to pay for a $140 million taxable bond for homeless services and a $150 million tax-exempt bond for street repairs, both to be issued in fiscal year 2019.
"We have an opportunity to move the ball forward on three major issues that are important not only to our tourism economy, but to every San Diegan," Faulconer said during a Monday press conference.
The city's voters in November rejected a hotel tax increase that would have subsidized a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers football team combined with an expanded convention center. It attracted well under half of the vote, for a measure that needed a two-thirds supermajority to pass. The Chargers subsequently moved to Los Angeles.
The city succeeded in getting hotel owners to vote for a similar bed tax in 2012, but a lawsuit to validate the city's right to limit the tax election to a vote of the hotel owners was rejected by the Fourth District Court of Appeals in 2014. That tax would have funded the convention center expansion only.
The hotel tax would need two-thirds approval by voters if the council approves it.
The bulk of the revenues from the 40-year tax would pay for a convention center expansion, originally anticipated to cost $550 million, but now expected to cost between $630 million and $685 million, according to the mayor's draft ordinance.
The tax increase is expected to bring in $900 million each over 40 years for roads and homeless services, but the mayor's office did not respond to a question about how much total the tax is expected to raise.
City Council President Pro Tem Mark Kersey, R-Rancho Bernardo, and hotel and business leaders came out in support of the effort during the press conference.
"This proposal tackles some of the city's most pressing challenges: keeping our tourism section competitive, bringing our roads up to the standard residents and businesses deserve and getting people off the street," Kersey said.
The mayor's measure will go to the City Council's Rules Committee Wednesday. The council has until June to approve the request for a special election in order for it to appear on the ballot in November.
The growth in bed tax revenue from new hotel construction is expected to bring enough revenue to cover rising costs of the expansion as well as fund homeless services and streets, said Matt Awbrey, a mayoral spokesman.