In my post a couple of days ago exploring how Proposition 26 had thrown a wrench in planning for the Convention Center, I wrote this:

Is the city’s hotel-room tax actually 12.5 percent and not 10.5 percent?

The city says it is.

A May 13, 2010 presentation called Keeping San Diego Tourism Competitive, from the Citizens Revenue Review and Economic Competitiveness Commission, concluded the city’s “effective” hotel-room tax was 12.5 percent.

That’s not true. This was a presentation made to the commission by the hotel group, the Lodging Industry Association.

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In the debate about whether the 2 percent fee is, indeed, effectively an addition to the city’s hotel-room tax, it is interesting that the hoteliers believe it is. The point of that part of their presentation is to show how our tax rate compares to other cities.

So, if this is part of the effective tax rate, then it is not a self-assessment. A self-assessment is a cost businesses have to absorb and choose how — or whether — to pass along to consumers.

Finally, here’s the audio and transcript of my discussion of this topic Friday on KPBS.

Update: Upon request, I’ve added a Pinocchio.

You can contact me directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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