The City of San Diego has proposed a tax on hotel rooms to help fund the cost of expanding he convention center, so that the city could keep Comic-Con in San Diego, which brings in a tremendous amount of money for the city. Recently, the city vetoed the tax, which could prove a detriment to the city. In the year 2014, Comic Con brought an estimated 163 million dollars to the City. Between restaurants, transportation, and most importantly, hotels, geeks come from around the world to visit the largest comic and pop-culture convention in history, and are happy to spend their hard-earned money to get, and stay here.
Since so many of those that attend come from out of town, the hotels make a huge profit during the five-day event. In fact, hotels are so overrun with guests during the event; there is now a lottery to get a chance at a hotel room. A few months before the event, nerds from across the country eagerly hover over their keyboards waiting for a chance to get a hotel room at a massively inflated cost, battling thousands of others, just so that they can ensure a place to stay during the Con to end all Cons.
Hotels, up to 30 miles away, routinely block off the event weekend so that they can cash in on event goers during this in-demand weekend. And since they make such a profit from the event, why would they want it to end up in another city, simply because they do not approve the tax? The proposed tax would increase the rate on a room by 1-3%, based on how close the hotel is to the convention center. Based on current tourism trends, this could create an additional $520 million for the city of San Diego, which is enough to expand the convention center by more than 400,000 square feet.
This would allow the convention center to grow large enough to accommodate the vast number of exhibitors and attendees that bring a tremendous amount of money to the city. The California Coastal Commission has already approved the project, but using the current available monetary resources; the city’ would have to cut the budget for things like police and fire departments, public transportation, and government housing.
All Of which, in turn, IS made possible by the money brought in by Comic Con. The controversy over the taxation is that the general public was not given the opportunity to vote on the issue, although hoteliers eagerly embraced the convention center tax as it will provide them with a steady income, and guaranteed profits. The people of the city would like to voice their opinion on he tax, but since city dwellers don’t often stay at local hotels, does their voice need to be heard?
Lining a small tax on local hotels in San Diego for the purpose of expanding the convention center to accommodate Comic Con makes financial sense. Not only will the hotels themselves continue to prosper, but so will the entire city. With the added income the convention brings, we will be able to continue to pay our much-needed emergency and police staff, repair our highways, feed our homeless and fund medical programs throughout San Diego. The money that the event brings to the city is much more important Han the event itself.