In Napa County, Calif., voters passed Measure V, which will increase the lodging tax from 10.5 to 12 percent.
Residents of San Diego voted down Proposition J, which would have increased the hotel occupancy tax from 10.5 to 12 percent.
Jackson, Miss., voters approved restaurant- and hotel-tax increases to fund the approximately $60 million Capital City Convention Center. Restaurant taxes increased from 8 to 9 percent, while hotel taxes rose from 8 to 11 percent. In addition, a new 3 percent tax on catering at the convention center also was approved. The increases go into effect in January.
Voters in Cincinnati repealed Article XII, an amendment to the city charter that had barred Cincinnati from enacting laws meant to protect homosexuals from discrimination. According to repeal advocates, Article XII cost Cincinnati more than $25 million in lost convention business due to groups objecting to the law. The repeal of Article XII was supported by an array of local corporations, such as Procter & Gamble, as well as the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, seven of nine city council members and Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken.
South Carolina voters approved an amendment to the state's constitution abolishing the practice of serving liquor from bottles holding two ounces or less, and allowing the South Carolina Legislature to formulate new liquor rules. The infamous 1.7-ounce "minibottle," used in the state since the early 1970s, originally was devised to make sure liquor was unadulterated, but often more than one bottle was used to make a drink. Some groups say the minibottle is a leading cause of road fatalities in the state. The minibottle will be phased out next year.
Charleston County, S.C., approved a sales-tax increase from 6 to 6.5 percent. Voters had agreed to a tax increase of the same amount two years ago, but the decision was overturned in the state courts following a very tight contest. The tax remains in effect for 25 years, or until $1.3 billion is raised.
Voters in Arlington, Texas, approved a sales-tax increase from 7.5 to 8 percent, a hotel-tax increase from 13 to 15 percent and a car rental-tax increase from 10 to 15 percent to help fund a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys football team. Arlington is expected to raise $325 million of the $650 million price tag for the 75,000-seat venue, which is scheduled to be built in time for the 2009-2010 season. "We're all so excited we can hardly stand it," said a spokesperson for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. The taxes go into effect April 1, and construction on the stadium likely will begin by the end of next year.