Peninsula voters signal approval of two revenue-generating hotel tax hikes

Voters in Foster City and Redwood City approved hotel tax hikes Tuesday, a victory for the cash-hungry
municipalities.

Under Redwood City’s Measure I, which goes into effect in January, the tax charged to hotel guests in will rise from 10 to 12 percent. And under Measure P, Foster City’s hotel tax will increase from 8 to 9.5 percent.

Both cities proposed the measures to capitalize on the growing number of visitors to San Mateo County.

Foster City was looking to raise an additional $250,000 annually for safety, parks, street and levee upkeep and other services, said City Manager Jim Hardy. The city’s hotel tax rate, unchanged since 1981, would remain the county’s lowest even with passage of the measure.

Redwood City’s hotel tax hike was conceived to help officials cope with a $2.6 million structural deficit brought on by increases in employee costs and operating expenses, said city spokesman Malcolm Smith.

Since 2008, eight of the county’s 20 cities have increased their hotel tax as more substantial revenue streams, such as property taxes, have fallen.

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