State Supreme Court Could Decide Outcome Of Voter Initiative To Fund Charger Stadium
The outcome of two November ballot initiatives, which would help fund the Chargers' proposed Convadium (combined stadium-convention center annex, shown above) or raise funds for a convention center annex only, may be decided by the California Supreme Court. Under current law, citizen initiatives require a two-thirds vote, rather than a simple majority, according to San Diego City attorney Jan Goldsmith.
Goldsmith explained in a memo that under the California Constitution and SD City Charter, revenue raised by a tax increase for a specific purpose constitutes a special tax and requires a super majority approval. He said the outcome could be decided by the state’s Supreme Court, which will review an appellate court decision that tax hikes only require a simple majority if placed on the ballot by a citizens’ initiative, while tax measures placed on the ballot by government agencies still require a two-thirds vote.
Goldsmith has asked the California Supreme Court to accelerate deliberation on the appellate decision, which involved a citizens' initiative to raise taxes on marijuana dispensaries in Upland, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. If no decision is forthcoming prior to the November election, he requested the court take jurisdiction over the election if one or both measures result in a simple majority, rather than a two-thirds vote.
The Chargers have previously stated they are operating on the assumption that a two-third’s vote is needed for voter approval of the Convadium measure. But local attorney Cory Briggs, who authored the Citizens’ Plan, which would fund a convention center expansion and tourism marketing only, contends his measure would raise taxes for the city’s general fund and only requires a simple majority.
The Chargers’ stadium initiative would raise the hotel tax (transit occupancy tax) from 12.5% to 16.5%, while the Citizens’ Initiative would raise it to 15.5%. Industry leaders will be discussing the potential impact of this tax hike on the San Diego hospitality sector at Bisnow's San Diego Hospitality Development and the Seaport's Takeoff event Aug. 18. [SDUT]