Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

The City of Santa Barbara collected $3,079,876 in transient occupancy taxes (TOT) for July 2021. TOT revenues in July 2021 were $1.9 million above July collections last year—which was significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and travel advisories.  Compared to July 2019, July 2021 revenues were higher by 29%; however, this is largely due to increased average daily rates, which are 35% higher than July 2019, with occupancy nearly even.

The local travel industry is now seeing increases in demand for rooms relative to recent months that is likely to continue throughout the summer months as the State has lifted travel advisories and as access to vaccinations has become more widely available.

July is the first month in the City’s fiscal year. The City’s adopted TOT budget is $19.5 million.

The Transient Occupancy Tax table can be viewed here.

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Byzantium Aug 23, 2021 01:24 PM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

Better than the Thomas fire and flood season, better than the massive lockdown season, but how close to what is needed to support the budgeted city revenue demands? Tourism over the past several years has taken serious hits. Has the expense side of the city budget taken similar hits?

PitMix Aug 24, 2021 08:38 AM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

Byz, have you ever heard of the economic theory that says that government should not contract spending much if at all during a downturn? That way the recession is not made worse by everyone pulling back spending.
But of course, if the City has no reserves then they have to reduce spending, because Cities and States are required to run balanced budgets, unlike the Feds.

Byzantium Aug 24, 2021 09:01 AM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

City government increased spending is mandatory due to employee contractual agreements for pensions, longevity and expanded numbers added to the workforce, regardless of the state of city revenues. Spending more on government employees requires using tax dollars, so it is a reallocation of other people's money. Consequently the "other people" who provide the tax dollars for the city to spend can no longer spend it themselves. Instead they are required to give their tax dollars to city employees, who then get to re-introduce it back into the economy. You cannot defend increased city spending during down tax revenue times, when other people's money is the city's only source of revenues.

a-1629767487 Aug 23, 2021 06:11 PM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

Wouldn't it be wonderful if tourism did take a serious hit! Les COVID, less exploitative restaurants, fewer wine "tasting rooms," fewer people dressed badly and blocking sidewalks taking pictures of unimportant places, less traffic at the airport disturbing locals in their homes, more politicians paying attention to SB resident concerns (not the bar zone), etc ad naseum.

bicyclist Aug 23, 2021 06:48 PM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

I wonder what the "Hotel taxes" are in Tuvalu:,179.1928205,1294m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xccbceda22deb1d20!8m2!3d-8.5244537!4d179.1945739?hl=en
or the longer view:,162.5684173,15708627m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xccbceda22deb1d20!8m2!3d-8.5244537!4d179.1945739?hl=en

sacjon Aug 24, 2021 01:49 PM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

6:11 - blaming tourist for airport noise seems misguided. Most of the commercial flights are for business and the ones you hear in "off hours" are private jets. It's not like it's Honolulu airport or something. And why do you care what tourists (or anyone) wears or takes photos of? Something tells me you're not a local.......

bosco Aug 24, 2021 02:57 PM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

I always wonder if the people bagging on tourists ever go anywhere themselves, or if they just spend their whole lives sitting in their living room in the same town they were born in. For the most part, we have all been tourists and will continue to be tourists when we travel outside of our home. Those people you are bagging on for bad clothes and taking up the sidewalk... guess what? That is you when you travel.

SB is a tourist town and will always cater to tourists. Be proud that you live where other people vacation.

Luvaduck Aug 24, 2021 09:41 AM
Santa Barbara Hotel Taxes 35% Higher Compared to 2019

In case you've been asleep, the price of everything has taken a leap. Groceries, medicine, insurance rates, fuel, Home Depot goods, clothing/shoes--everything. The damage to business caused by the pandemic is partly to blame, but interest rates are about zero and have been less than the real cost of living increases for decades yet few us buy a house, a new car or major appliances every year. We do buy gorceries, medical/dental/insurance routinely. Guess what isn't in the basket used to determine cost-of-living. Quiet theft from bank savings accounts, retirement accounts and benefits has been going on for years. And incidentally, inflation really means currency devaluation, you pay more for less goods & services because your money is worth less.

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