Apr 28, 2022 - News

Dallas hotel tax hike to pay for convention center, Fair Park upgrades

Illustration of Dallas City Hall with lines radiating from it.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Dallas City Council approved a measure to add a 2% hotel occupancy tax to pay for a new convention center and Fair Park improvements.

Why it matters: Council members and city leaders say redeveloping the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be a boon to downtown businesses and growth.

  • Wednesday's approval moves the measure a step closer to voters.

Flashback: The council approved a design option for the new convention center in February, which initiated a yearlong process to approve the funding source and complete plans to create a building with two entrances: one facing downtown and the other facing the Cedars, the neighborhood south of Interstate 30.

The other side: Cara Mendelsohn was again the only council member to vote against the measure, questioning the economic benefit of spending billions on a new convention development.

What they're saying: Council member Omar Narvaez quoted the musical "Hamilton," saying he was not "throwing away his shot" and wants voters to have a say on the increased tax to pay for the redevelopment.

  • "Send the voters the opportunity to say yes or say no. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about the voters," he said.

Details: The hotel occupancy tax would also go toward Fair Park improvements, including to the Automobile and Centennial buildings and the Cotton Bowl.

What's next: Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax will send the resolution to the state's comptroller office for approval. Then the council will decide whether to call an election asking voters to approve the hotel occupancy tax for this use.

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