City Council Approves Tax Ban On Admission Tickets At Disneyland

8 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Anaheim City Council Approves Tax Ban On Admission Tickets At Disneyland.

ANAHEIM ( – The City of Anaheim has voted to extend a theme park’s tax breaks despite heavy public opposition, city officials said Wednesday. Walt Disney Co. won a 30-year extension of a moratorium on ticket taxes in Anaheim, California, in exchange for a commitment to invest $1 billion in its two parks there.Disneyland, part of a multibillion dollar corporation, wants to rush Anaheim taxpayers into a 45-year binding agreement that exempts Disney from any possible local entertainment tax.

Officials said the council voted throughout all of Tuesday night on an agreement between the city and Disneyland before the ban on a gate or entertainment tax on admission tickets at the theme park was approved. The City Council voted 3-2 to grant the company an exemption from any future entertainment tax that might be levied on tickets to the Disneyland Resort, home to the namesake theme park and California Adventure. The company will have until within six months of the end of 2024 to confirm the value of improvements, according to an e-mailed statement from the council Wednesday. We have a massive unfunded public pension liability, and week after week, month after month, this council seems to think that you can keep giving away generations of future tax revenue money.” Meanwhile, former state Sen. The council should, at minimum, amend the agreement to add: “Disneyland, as a locally agreed-to tax-exempt organization for local tax purposes, will abide by political campaign rules that other tax-exempt organizations must abide by, including, but not limited to, not providing campaign donations nor endorsing local candidates for local elected office.” It seems only right that, if Disneyland is given local tax exemption, the company should not then be allowed to use its protected profits to influence local elections.

Stipulations requiring the city to reimburse Disney for the full cost of a tax imposed during the life of the agreement have drawn concern from some, but constitute the only protection Disney has in return for making a considerable capital investment. The theme parks separately provide more than half of Anaheim’s general fund revenue — $148 million annually in hotel, sales, property and business license taxes, according to the city.

In exchange, Disney would continue to invest in and expand its entertainment park in the city, where it is the largest employer and property taxpayer. In requesting an extension of the tax exemption at Tuesday’s meeting, Disney committed to investing an addition $1 billion over thirty years in capital improvements, such as traffic relief infrastructure, a parking structure, and other investments to increase the park’s popularity.

Should the council approve the agreement today, it should also move to offer an equitable arrangement to any business that would suffer under such a tax so as to make clear that the city does not intend to show favoritism toward Disney. Disney officials said they are still considering potential rides, themed lands and other details for the expansion, which may bank off the company’s newly acquired “Star Wars,” Marvel and Pixar franchises. America better wake up and listen to the gasping warble of the proverbial “Greek canary in the coal mine.” The welching government of Greece, with the people’s blessing, have racked up debt they are unwilling to pay back. The government has allowed public workers’ wages to nearly double over the past 10 years, while it has funded one of the most generous pension systems in the world.

But the status quo is hardly a burden, and a vote by some to place a targeted financial burden on others is not a proper function of the democratic process. Anaheim should use this anti-tax measure as a springboard for its return to being the most liberty-friendly city in the county, and Disney, free of fear of the punitive tax, would be free to invest not only in its properties but also in the community as a whole.

Opponents included several community activists and Latino residents who said Anaheim’s low-income neighborhoods do not see the economic benefits created by Disneyland’s presence in Anaheim. Disney gave an additional $776,000 to four political action committees whose campaign spending included a combined $476,000 to help Murray and former Councilwoman Gail Eastman. “It appears to me that Disney is averting the people’s right to vote,” said Gretchen Shoemaker, owner of Georgia’s Restaurant in the Anaheim Packing House.

A decision was not yet reached by 10 p.m. amid a lengthy public hearing on whether to extend the current entertainment tax exemption for Disney that started in 1996 and expires June 30, 2016. Lou Correa said that he was “dumbfounded that an issue like this could create such controversy,” adding that an expansion of the Disney theme parks would create jobs. Al Jabbar, a member of the Anaheim Union High School District’s Board of Education, said that Disney should make a multi-million dollar donation to visual arts programs for Anaheim campuses as a condition to approve the ticket-tax ban. “You are in a better position to negotiate,” Jabbar told the council. “We’re not asking Disney to be our city’s ATM machine, but a responsible corporate partner.”

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