By Richard Earnest and Donald Mosier
Proposition J is a proposed tax on tourists, not a tax on cottages or homes or on Del Mar homeowners. The proposition, to approve a transient occupancy tax, or TOT, would require vacation home renters who stay 30 days or less to pay the same tax that Del Mar hotel and motel guests currently pay. It is not intended for month-to-month rentals. It is not intended for guests visiting you in your home. It is a tax that is borne by the tourist, not the vacation rental owner.
The City Council has been consistently asked to find ways for tourists to pay for services related to their use of our beaches and parks. The vacation rental TOT is currently being used by our neighboring communities to pay for these visitor-related services. For these reasons, the City Council is placing the decision to tax tourists for short-term vacation rentals on the June ballot.
You may hear from some that the city is asking the homeowners to bear this tax. That is NOT how Proposition J works. The tax is paid by the visitor as a percentage of the vacation rental fee. It is not charged to our homeowners. Profiles of vacation rental properties show that residents of Del Mar do not own many of them.
Proposition J does not tax guests that are visiting you and staying in your home. It taxes visitors staying in vacation rentals. The city will not add additional staff to enforce the payment of this tax nor will there be burdensome processes created for the property owners.
Proposition J shifts some of the costs for city services from our residents and businesses to our tourists. The city's revenues continue to decline and the city has dramatically cut expenditures to ensure that revenues exceed expenditures, as required by state law. Proposition J allows the city to collect revenue from our tourist base to assist in paying for services that are now going unfunded.
A yes vote on Proposition J will ensure that all visitors pay their fair share of city services and will help maintain the financial health of our community. We estimate that Proposition J can raise about $180,000 from visitors per year to help Del Mar pay for beach and park maintenance, fire safety and law enforcement.
Remember every TOT dollar collected in Del Mar stays in Del Mar.