Dallas Convention Center Hotel Controversy Heats Up

The debate surrounding a convention center hotel in Dallas has stepped up a notch this week. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert's office started to circulate a letter noting the consequences to the city if the $550 million Omni hotel, to be located adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center, is not built.

Dallas voters will determine the hotel's fate on May 9 by casting a "Yes" or "No" to Proposition 1, which asks them to prohibit the city from building the publicly-funded hotel. The proposition was put on the ballot thanks to a petition of 60,000 signatures collected by the group Citizens Against Taxpayer-Owned Hotel, a coalition of local citizens. According to the group's blog, its members foresee "immediate cuts in our public service; ongoing deficits that jeopardize the remaining services; and higher taxes on our families" if the hotel is built.

Urging voters to vote "No" on May 9, Leppert would disagree. He writes in his letter, "Dallas's potential as a convention destination city and a magnet for business development has never been more in jeopardy."

If the proposition passes, Leppert writes it "could prove devastating...to our long-term economy...to our hopes of transforming Downtown Dallas...to our hopes of becoming the world-class city we are on the verge of becoming. What will also pass us by are the thousands of jobs—and the millions of dollars of tax revenues—that such conventions and developments create."

The argument that hotel and entertainment developments will create jobs, stimulate the economy and promote tourism seems similar to the situation in Las Vegas regarding MGM's CityCenter. What do you think: would you vote Yes or No on Proposition 1?
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