Prop A Passes, Funding New Convention Center


Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center | Image by Getty Images

The City of Dallas’ Proposition A passed on election night, garnering over 67% of the votes, according to data released by the election’s office at 5:00 a.m. the following day.

Although the final vote has yet to be tabulated, it is all but certain that the measure will pass by a large margin.

Prop A allows the city to increase the hotel occupancy tax by 2%, making the general total rate 15%, with six of those percentage points going to the state while the rest is retained by the city, as reported by The Dallas Express.

It is estimated that the increased tax will raise $1.5 billion over the next 30 years, with 80% of those funds going to replace the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and 20% being earmarked for restorations to Fair Park.

The measure was backed by a well-coordinated effort of Dallas’ political elite, who rallied behind the initiative. Mayor Eric Johnson heralded its passage as an opportunity “to ensure that our city is a top destination for visitors and conventions for years to come.”

Johnson was joined in his support by former mayors Mike Rawlings and Tom Leppert, State Representatives Rafael Anchía and Victoria Neave Criado, State Senator Royce West, the majority of the Dallas City Council, and Ambassador and Convention Center namesake Kay Bailey Hutchison.

A bevy of organizations also threw their support behind Prop A, including Downtown Dallas Inc., Dallas Citizens Council, Visit Dallas, Fair Park First, Dallas Regional Chamber, Regional Black Contractors Association, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The campaign was funded by the Transforming Dallas Committee, a PAC that received over $900,000 to ensure the passage of Prop A.

The lone dissenting voice on the Dallas City Council was Cara Mendelsohn, who criticized the project for a lack of transparency and for unduly benefiting “billionaire land owners,” as reported by The Dallas Express.

Some in the community echoed concerns about Prop A, suggesting that it was merely a way for private corporations to use taxpayer dollars to achieve business investments they were unwilling to take on themselves.

“Probably voting No on Dallas’s Prop A,” one Dallas citizen tweeted, continuing elsewhere to lament, “can’t wait for even more of our tax money to go to real estate moguls’ pet daydreams.”

Another resident urged people to “vote against Prop A and say no to giveaways for the wealthiest real estate developers in Dallas.”

Others disagreed with the fact that only 20% of the collected taxes would go toward Fair Park. One resident, Amber Sims, explained on Twitter, “Read up on Prop A and I am voting against. I don’t think it does enough to acknowledge history, apply reparations and benefit South Dallas.”

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