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City of Selma Hotel Tax Increase, Measure K (November 2013)

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A City of Selma Hotel Tax Increase, Measure K ballot question was on the November 5, 2013, election ballot for voters in the city of Selma in Fresno County, which is in California. The vote was narrowly approved with a margin of only 4 votes.

This measure would authorized the city of Selma to double its hotel tax rate from 6 to 12 percent. On July 1, 2013, the Selma City Council unanimously voted to put Measure K before voters. The prior rate of 6 percent was one of the lowest rates in the counties of Fresno, Tulare and Madera. The hotel tax, which was set in 1982, brought in about $165,000 a year. With the approval of Measure K, the doubled rate was expected to bring in double the revenue at $330,000 per year.[1][2]

The "K" in Measure K stood for "kids" as proposed by Council Member George Rodriguez. The funds from Measure K were not earmarked for a particular purpose, meaning the measure required only a simple majority for approval. But the funds were intended to support recreation programs for kids throughout the city.

In 2010, Selma voters voted 57% to approve a nearly identical measure. But because the 2010 "Measure K" was specifically earmarked for a certain purpose it required a 2/3rds supermajority vote and so was defeated. An attempt to raise the hotel tax to only 10% in 2008 was rejected by 64% of Selma voters.

Election results

Measure K
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 595 50.17%
No59149.83%
These final, certified results are from the Fresno County elections office.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

“Shall the City of Selma increase the existing transient

occupancy tax for the privilege of occupancy in any room, hotel, inn, motel or other lodging, for occupancy for a period of less than 30 days, from 6% to 12% of the rent charged by the operator of such lodging?"[1][3]

Support

Supporters

The campaign in favor of Measure K was run by a citizens committee. Dr. Stan Louie, who was in charge of the pro-Measure K committee in 2010, was also part of the committee this year.[2]

Arguments in favor

City officials had pointed out that residents of Selma do not pay the hotel tax, only visitors and those who utilize hotels, motels and inns. Mayor Ken Grey said that “this is not a tax that you will pay, unless you’re going to rent a room in your own town. You, in fact, are paying when you go elsewhere. Why wouldn’t you want to collect the same tax in your community when you’re paying somebody else when you travel?”[2][4]

“I’m in full support of the measure,” said Grey. “The intent of the measure is essentially what it has been, which is to improve the delivery of services to our youth throughout the city of Selma,” he said.[2]

Louie argued that Measure K would increase the quality of life in Selma. He said, “with more visitors to Selma, more services will be required to keep our city even more presentable by our loyal public works staff, who work tirelessly to keep the streets and parks beautiful with what time they have." He also expressed hope "that, in this ‘off-year’ election,” Louie said, “that the loyal registered voters will see the benefits that a small contribution will make for our youth and for our city as a whole.”[2]

Big League Dreams

It had also been widely discussed that funds form Measure K could go towards funding a project called the "Big League Dreams" project that would construct a $30 million dollar sports complex including:[2]

  • six fields
  • an indoor soccer pavilion
  • two restaurants
  • and a batting cage

The city had already committed $450,000 to a licensing agreement for the complex and had three years to find the funding for the remainder of the project.[2]

Similar measures

See also

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