April 16, 2024
Advocates for the reinvestment of resort tax income into San Diego arts and tradition. Photograph through @CMRaulCampillo X

The San Diego Metropolis Council Tuesday unanimously voted to suggest the town use almost 10% of its annual Transient Occupancy Tax income to fund arts and tradition, almost double the present quantity.

Tuesday’s motion doesn’t instantly allocate the funds, however does ship a message to Mayor Todd Gloria for subsequent yr’s finances course of that the council believes the discretionary funds in query ought to fund the humanities.

“Resort tax revenues must be reinvested into our communities and into our staff,” stated Councilman Raul Campillo, who, together with Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, sponsored the decision. “At the moment’s vote prioritizes the intentional funding of TOT funds into arts and tradition in order that we retain our inventive workforce.”

“By investing within the arts, we additionally put money into the town of San Diego’s financial well-being and in high quality of life for San Diegans,” he added.

The TOT is San Diego’s 10.5% resort tax. Of each 10.5 cents taxed on {dollars} spent in metropolis resorts, 5.5 cents goes straight into the town’s basic fund with the opposite 5 cents going to the TOT fund. Of that latter pool of funds, 4 cents should “be used solely for the aim of selling the town,” and the remaining cent is as much as the council’s discretion.

Within the 2022-23 fiscal yr, TOT income totaled $256.7 million. Arts funding was $14.3 million, 5.59% of the whole.

“Arts and tradition exercise is important to the vibrancy and economic system of San Diego,” Moreno stated. “Yearly, arts programming is on the chopping block within the finances, regardless of the council’s said purpose to supply secure funding yearly.”

“It’s essential that the Metropolis Council do all it might probably to make sure that our communities have entry to visible and performing arts and group festivals,” she stated. “This coverage change will permit the council the chance to clarify its expectations on fulfilling the Penny for the Arts Plan targets.”

In 2012, the council voted to approve a “Penny for the Arts” plan that might improve arts and tradition funding from the town’s TOT. The plan’s advice included restoring arts and tradition funding ranges to 9.52% of annual TOT income by 2017. Nevertheless, the council’s adopted arts and tradition finances for the 2023-24 fiscal yr was solely 4.67% of TOT income, in keeping with metropolis knowledge.

Tuesday’s decision is meant to bridge that “penny hole” for arts funding within the metropolis. It encourages Gloria and employees to extend funding for the humanities to that 9.52% in every finances as a way to meet the Penny for the Arts purpose.

“By lastly attaining the Penny for the Arts promise, San Diego will be sure that gifted individuals within the arts and tradition house keep right here in San Diego as an alternative of transferring to different cities in the hunt for higher alternatives, and San Diego can be a extra vibrant and wealthy place in consequence,” stated Christine Martinez, director of Arts+Tradition: San Diego.

Tuesday’s motion additionally directs the Impartial Price range Analyst to conduct extra evaluation on whether or not every annual proposed finances meets the intent of the council advice to make use of 9.52% of TOT funds for arts and tradition, a press release from Campillo’s workplace learn. Moreover, the coverage requests extra reporting from Gloria and the Division of Finance on how TOT income is being expended.

Earlier Tuesday, Campillo and Moreno had been joined by greater than 30 arts and tradition advocates who got here to assist the merchandise.

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.