Disneyland Resort president Josh D’Amaro has sent a letter to the city of Anaheim. In it, he proposes the end of two tax incentives for the Disneyland Resort from Anaheim. The letter is an effort to sooth the relationship between the city and Disney. In the letter, D’Amaro says that Disneyland wants a healthy relationship with Anaheim, it’s residents and Disneyland Cast Members. Due to the unhealthy environment created by tax incentives, he requests that they be rescinded.
D’Amaro shared in his letter that “the practice of utilizing tax incentives to encourage business investment was, and continues to be, an effective approach and sound public policy to create jobs, increase economic activity, and generate significant taxes and other fiscal benefits to the community. In fact, cities around the nation have implemented similar incentive policies with great success. However, unfortunately in Anaheim these policies have become divisive, leading to an unstable business climate and a difficult working relationship with the City.”
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who has been against the incentives all along called the gesture a “bold move.” He also said that he is looking forward to working with the Disneyland Resort in a more cooperative nature moving forward.
The incentive deals being referenced were made in 2015 and 2016. One prevented the city from introducing a gate tax for Disneyland Resort tickets for 30 years. In return, the Disneyland Resort agreed to invest $1 billion by 2024. The second was to give the Resort a $267-million rebate for building a luxury hotel.
Last week, the Disneyland Resort put a hold on the hotel that was to be built at the west end of the Downtown Disney District. This came after the city questioned whether it would be eligible for the tax incentives. It appeared that tensions between the Disneyland Resort and Anaheim would continue to grow. However, with D’Amaro’s letter, it seems that some of the steam has been taken out of the controversy.
There are lots of unknowns as to what will come next from the relationship between the Disneyland Resort and Anaheim. It is known that work will continue on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and it will open in 2019. a bug’s land will close in Disney California Adventure to make way for a Marvel land. Other investments in the Disneyland Resort though are all question marks. At this point, Disney is still not restarting work on a fourth Disneyland Resort hotel. It isn’t known if Disney will continue to invest in the Disneyland Resort moving forward on a grand scale, or focus on other properties around the world. Finally, it isn’t known if this will lead to a gate tax where Disneyland tickets are taxed in the future. It also isn’t known if this will impact a ballot initiative on the November ballot in Anaheim regarding a living wage for workers of companies receiving tax incentives.
What do you think about this new development in the tax incentive debate in Anaheim? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!