As one of San Francisco’s longstanding cultural institutions, we are proud of the role the arts play in making this City such a special place. We also know that providing access to the arts and making the City livable for working artists are more important than ever.
Proposition E, the Partial Allocations of Hotel Tax for Arts and Cultural Purposes, is a local San Francisco ballot measure on the November 2018 ballot. The Proposition aims to restore funding to arts and culture in San Francisco with the Hotel Tax, without raising taxes.
So, what is the Hotel Tax? In 1961, San Francisco established a link between arts and tourism through the Hotel Tax. Like many cities, San Francisco imposes taxes on hotel room charges aimed at nonresidents to cover the cost of providing services to visitors to a city. The Hotel Tax is raised by an 8% base tax and a 6% surcharge tax on the rental of hotel rooms in San Francisco (including Airbnb). Many arts organizations, like Stern Grove Festival, have received funds from Grants for the Arts with revenue generated by the Hotel Tax Fund.
Almost 20 years ago, during the annual budget review, the City amended the allocation for the arts in the Hotel Tax Fund, reducing the allocation for the arts until it disappeared entirely. The San Francisco Hotel Tax generates roughly $400 million each year, with an 8% base tax and a 6% surcharge tax. This ordinance would subject a portion (1.5%) of the growth of the 8% base tax to specific allocations, and the remaining 6.5% of the 8% base tax would continue to go into the General Fund. Without raising taxes or taking away from other city services, Prop. E re-establishes a set percentage of the base tax to support the arts in San Francisco, as originally set forth in 1961.
Ultimately, Prop E would reinvest in the community and make arts more accessible and affordable to ALL San Franciscans. This will also help ensure that working artists can remain in San Francisco and continue contributing to the City’s vibrant arts community.
If the future of arts and culture in San Francisco is important to you and you’re a resident, we encourage you to vote YES on E by November 6th, 2018.
We appreciate your consideration and support!