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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

City of Santa Clara
Measure E - Majority Approval Required

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To maintain and protect the level of essential city services including 9-1-1 emergency medical/disaster preparedness, police and fire protection, bicycle and pedestrian safety, roadways and storm drains, and other vital services including parks, recreation, libraries and senior services, shall a measure increasing the hotel tax rate up to 4%, generating up to approximately 7 million dollars annually, paid only by hotel/motel guests, until ended by voters, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by League of Women Voters of San Jose/Santa Clara

The Question

To maintain and protect the level of essential city services including 9-1-1 emergency medical/disaster preparedness, police and fire protection, bicycle and pedestrian safety, roadways and storm drains, and other vital services, shall a measure increasing the hotel tax rate up to 4%, generating up to approximately 7 million dollars annually, paid only by hotel/motel guests, until ended by voters, be adopted? 

 

 

The Situation

The City of Santa Clara currently has a hotel occupancy tax rate of 9.5%, the second lowest hotel tax rate in the County.  Visitors pay this tax when they stay at a Santa Clara hotel or motel. The current rate of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), often called a “hotel tax,” went into effect in July 1992. 

 

The Proposal

Measure E would amend City Code Section 3.25.030 to allow the City Council, by Resolution, to increase the tax from time to time, up to a maximum of 13.5%.  The revenues generated by the additional taxes would be added to the city’s general fund and locally controlled.  They would be available to support general City services including emergency services and disaster preparedness, street maintenance, senior services, libraries, and parks and recreation programs, and other general municipal services.  The money must be spent locally.  It cannot be taken by the State. 

Measure E is not a property tax.  Residents and home owners would not pay additional tax.  This “hotel tax” is only charged on stays of less than 30 days at a hotel, motel, boarding house, or other lodging establishment.  It is paid as a percentage of the room price, collected by the operator of the lodging establishment, and transferred to the City for use in its General Fund.  The proposed measure would not alter this procedure.

Fiscal effect

Measure E is expected to generate up to about $7 million in additional annual general fund revenues based on pre-pandemic economic projections.  However, the actual amount of revenue generated is dependent on the number of lodging nights booked by hotel guests.

Supporters say

This hotel tax is paid by tourists and business travelers, not Santa Clara residents.

Adding 1-4% tax onto hotel bills will add millions of dollars to the general fund.    The tax revenue generated will help reduce Santa Clara’s forecasted budget deficits in coming years and will allow Santa Clara to continue to deliver high quality city services, prepare for disasters and emergencies, ensure the safety of the community, and pay for critical infrastructure needs.

Measure E allows the City Council to be flexible, raising the hotel tax up to four per cent when market conditions are right.  Even with this increase, Santa Clara’s hotel tax will be lower than some of the neighboring cities.

Mayor Lisa Gilmore

Councilmember Karen Hardy

Councilmember Raj Chahal

Louis Mariani, Santa Clara Businessman

Christian Pellecchia, CEO, Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce

 

 

 

 

Opponents say

Santa Clara currently imposes a 9.5% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).  Now the City Council is proposing another tax increase up to 13.5%.  People who do not live in Santa Clara and therefore do not use city services should not have to pay for these services.

Making visitors to Santa Clara pay for services that they will not or cannot use is immoral.  Residents should pay for their own city services.

Keeping the TOT lower will help local hotels compete for business, encouraging more visitors to stay in Santa Clara.  This will boost the economy.

 

Mark W. A. Hinkle, President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

Joe Dehn, Chair, Libertarian Party of Santa Clara Co.

Donald Cornier, Resident

 

 

 

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Brian Doyle, City Attorney

 

 

The Santa Clara City Council has placed Measure E on the ballot which, if approved by the voters, would amend City Code Section 3.25.030 to allow the City Council, by Resolution, to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax ("TOT"), often called a "hotel tax," by up to an additional 4%. The current TOT rate of 9.5% went into effect in July 1992. If passed, the City Council could increase the rate from time to time up to a maximum of 13.5%.

 

 

 

The TOT is only charged upon stays of less than 30 days at hotel, motel, boarding house, or other such short-term lodging establishment. The tax is paid by the customer as a percentage of the room price and is collected by the operator of the lodging establishment for remission to the City. The proposed measure would not alter the process used to administer the tax program.

 

 

 

The revenues derived from the TOT are paid into the City's general fund for unrestricted uses. The City's general fund can be used for police and fire, parks and recreation, streets and · sidewalks, and other general municipal sc1vices: An increase in the TOT from 9.5% to 13.5% is expected to generate up to approximately $7 million in additional annual general fund revenues, based upon pre-pandemic calculations and assumptions. The actual revenue derived from the increased TOT rate is dependent upon the number of lodging nights booked by hotel guests or other such customers.

 

 

 

A "Yes" vote on Measure E would adopt the amendment to the Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance. A "No" vote would not adopt the amendment to the Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

 

The Santa Clara City Council has placed Measure E on the ballot which, if approved by the voters, would amend City Code Section 3.25.030 to allow the City Council, by Resolution, to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax ("TOT"), often called a "hotel tax," by up to an additional 4%. The current TOT rate of 9.5% went into effect in July 1992. If passed, the City Council could increase the rate from time to time up to a maximum of 13.5%.

 

 

 

The TOT is only charged upon stays of less than 30 days at hotel, motel, boarding house, or other such short-term lodging establishment. The tax is paid by the customer as a percentage of the room price and is collected by the operator of the lodging establishment for remission to the City. The proposed measure would not alter the process used to administer the tax program.

 

 

 

The revenues derived from the TOT are paid into the City's general fund for unrestricted uses. The City's general fund can be used for police and fire, parks and recreation, streets and · sidewalks, and other general municipal sc1vices: An increase in the TOT from 9.5% to 13.5% is expected to generate up to approximately $7 million in additional annual general fund revenues, based upon pre-pandemic calculations and assumptions. The actual revenue derived from the increased TOT rate is dependent upon the number of lodging nights booked by hotel guests or other such customers.

 

 

 

A "Yes" vote on Measure E would adopt the amendment to the Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance. A "No" vote would not adopt the amendment to the Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance.

 

 

 
 


 

 
 

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— Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

 

The City of Santa Clara currently imposes a 9.5% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on guests in the hotel, motels, and inns here. Now the City Council is proposing another tax increase up to 13.5%.

 

The City Council wants people who do not live Santa Clara and largely do not use city services to pay for the services used by businesses and homeowners who do live and work here in Santa Clara.

 

In other words they want a free ride and stick out of towners with the bill. Would you do that to your friends, family, or co-workers?

 

No, because that would be immoral. It is a form of theft.

 

If you use city services, shouldn’t you be the one to pay for them?

 

Do you go to a restaurant and always expect someone else to pick up the tab? Those who regularly do that are called grifters .Or petty thieves.

 

Just because the City Council is looking for a free ride and stick it to out of towners to pay the bill/tax does not make it right

 

Stealing is stealing regardless if a majority approves.

 

Making visitors to Santa Clara pay for service that the will not or cannot use, is immoral, so vote NO on Measure E.

 

And keeping this tax lower will help local hotels compete for business, encouraging more visitors to stay in Santa Clara which would help boost the local economy.

 

To keep our local hotels competitive—and because stealing from visitors is wrong—

 

VOTE NO ON MEASURE E.

 

For more information, please visit: www.SVTAxpaters.or/202santaclaratot

 

 

 

 

— Registrar of Voters

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