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Hotel tax on El Paso ballot; no direct choice for voters

New El Paso ballpark

The El Paso City Council voted to include a provision on the fall ballot to raise the hotel tax to pay for a Class AAA ballpark, but voters will not directly vote on whether a ballpark should be built.

The plan all along was to ask voters to approve a two-percentage-point increase in the city’s hotel-motel tax to pay for a new $50 million ballpark. The city has already come to an agreement with a group seeking to move the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) to the city in 2014, and the lease guarantees city funding — if the hotel tax fails, the city need to find another funding method. This arrangement has been criticized by ballpark opponents, who want to see an up-or-down vote on the issue, and they’ve submitted petitions to force a ballot provision this fall.

However, last night the City Council went ahead and approved the language for the fall ballot. The first issue will be public bonding for a wide array of public improvements in the city, not including the ballpark. The second will cover the increase in the hotel-motel tax. The outcome of the petition drive, however, remains to be seen.

Image courtesy City of El Paso.

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