Nearly 78 percent of Half Moon Bay early voters supported Measure U, the city-backed measure that would raise the tax paid by overnight visitors. That early edge led the City Clerk to call the race and proclaim victory for the measure before the voting center ballots were counted.

Measure U’s passage locks in an increase in the transient occupancy tax from its current 12 percent to 14 percent beginning in July 2021, with a bump to 15 percent scheduled for 2022. Only hotels, bed and breakfast and inns located within the Half Moon Bay city limits will be impacted by the tax increase.

The hospitality industry and the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau opposed Measure U because some business leaders feared the proposed tax increase would jeopardize local hotels’ recovery during the pandemic.

But the city, which sources about a third of its general fund from the transient occupancy tax, argued the boost to the general fund could be used toward public safety and emergency preparedness.

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