Hunt: "Dallas Should Focus on Getting the Basics Right," Not Getting Into Hotel Biz

So, this morning we heard Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway's reasons for supporting the convention center hotel. Today, on her Web site, Angela Hunt offers several reasons why she's against it. She also has some words for those who insist that Dallas will become a "ghost town" without the hotel:

Some have argued that if Dallas doesn't have a city-owned hotel, our Downtown will die. That's just silly. Over the last decade, the City of Dallas has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to revitalize our Downtown, and despite the bad economy, those investments are paying off with more residents, more businesses, more development, and more activity in the heart of our city.

Furthermore, Dallas is already ranked number 9 in the country for convention business. Of the eight cities ahead of us, only one of them -- Chicago -- has a city-owned hotel. The other cities have used subsidies to encourage private investment in their convention center hotels -- a smarter option for Dallas. Proposition 1 specifically permits our city to partner with the private sector in constructing a hotel with tax abatements and tax increment financing districts.

In this economy, the city shouldn't be putting taxpayers at risk, especially when we're already looking at a $100 million city budget deficit next year. Dallas should focus on getting the basics right -- streets, police, code enforcement -- before getting into the hotel business.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky