DALLAS, Texas – Dallas voters have approved an increase in taxes collected from room rentals to help pay for a new downtown convention center.
As reported by The Dallas Morning News, the approved proposition would increase the tax collected from customers of hotels, motels, and short-term rentals from 13 percent to 15 percent.
It is reported the increase will bring in $1.5 billion over 30 years, $1.2 billion of which is earmarked to replace the aging Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
The article states that results showed more than 70 percent of voters supported the tax increase.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the time is now for the city council to “make good on the promise we’ve made to the residents of the City of Dallas.”
“And that promise was is that we’ll be good stewards of revenue stream and we’ll be smart about how we deploy this revenue steam and that is what we are going to do,” Johnson added.
According to city reports earlier this year, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center requires between $500 million to $700 million in maintenance needs, including a new roof, escalators, and reconstruction of other parts of the building.
This past February, the Dallas city council voted to tear down the old venue and build a new one, which city officials believe will allow the city to compete for major events and increase tourism-related revenue.
According to the Morning News article, the city currently spends $1 million a year on traps hung from the ceiling throughout the building to catch water leaking when it rains.
Once the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is torn down, it will open up 30 acres in the area.
The article states the design and engineering work are underway for the new 2.5-million-square-foot convention center (expected to cost $2 million) which is set to replace the older center.