Hotel Bed Tax in Flux

The City of Santa Barbara’s hotel bed tax registered a 3.2 percent increase just five months into the fiscal year, according to a report released this month for November 2019. However, it fell 2.2 percent for the month, compared to last year, possibly due to lower hotel occupancy during the Cave Fire, city finance analyst Diego Martin surmised. He also noted that Thanksgiving weekend, the biggest travel weekend for November, was a rainy one, never conducive to travel.

The 12 percent tax — imposed on visitors occupying a room in a hotel, motel, inn, or similar establishment — earned $1.3 million in November 2019, for a total $9.8 million so far. The city’s budget includes nearly $20 million from the tax, one-sixth of which goes to the Creeks Restoration and Water Quality Improvement.

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