San Francisco Voters Reject Room Tax Increase

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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San Francisco, CA – A ballot measure that would have increased San Francisco hotel room taxes and fees to the highest level in the U.S. was defeated at the polls November 2.

Proposition J fell amid warnings that organizers of trade shows and conventions would look elsewhere rather than pay the 17.5% levy on rooms. Opponents said the measure would have made hotel rooms in San Francisco the highest taxed in the nation and would exceed the room tax in Los Angeles and San Diego.

“By rejecting this measure, San Francisco has avoided cancellations of upcoming conventions and millions of dollars of lost business for years to come,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are grateful to the voters of this city for understanding the important role that tourism plays in the economic health of San Francisco,” he continued.  “By rejecting Prop J, they have protected more than 2,000 jobs.”

D’Alessandro said the San Francisco CVB had already received notice from its convention customers that they would have to cancel events they already booked if the measure passed. “The losers would have been everyone who works in the tourism industry,” he said.

Prop J included an increase of two percentage points over the current room tax of 15.5%, plus a 1.5% marketing fee on each room. Backers of the measure said the increase would add approximately $3 per night to each room and generate revenue that would help pay for transportation, parks and other city services used by visitors to the city.

Reach Joe D’Alessandro at (415) 227-2698 or jdalessandro@sanfrancisco.travel