Airlines demand corporate welfare - Page 3

After losing in court, big corporations are pushing city policy makers to exempt them from paying hotel taxes

The taxes the city collects from hotels go toward funding a wide range of public services. Some of the money is earmarked for the Convention and Visitors Bureau and for maintaining convention facilities. Some funds are allocated for low-income housing and rent supplements. The War Memorial Department, the Asian Art Museum, and the Arts Commission all receive funding through the hotel tax as well, with excess dollars poured into the city's General Fund.

San Francisco's tourism industry is the city's largest industry and its second-largest employer, after the city and county government. "You want to make sure your number one industry is protected," Breslin told us.

Yet the policy that she's asking the city to enact runs counter to the policies in other major cities, including those thought to be less politically progressive than San Francisco. In Los Angeles, for example, only individuals can be granted exemptions from paying the hotel tax. In Chicago the exemption is even stricter and only applies to people who use hotel rooms as their domicile.