Disneyland makes growth contingent on tax breaks

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Okay, maybe not THE happiest, but still a pretty nifty deal for the Mouse House.

The Walt Disney Company has proposed a $1 billion expansion of the Disneyland Resort, with new rides, attractions and a massive parking structure. But here’s the rub: Disney is all-but demanding a 30-year extension of an existing 30-year tax exemption on theme park tickets that’s scheduled to expire next year. Disney says any expansion of Disneyland and California Adventure is contingent on the tax break.

That’s not surprising given the company’s history of aggressively pursuing special tax deals wherever possible. But it is rubbing some in Anaheim the wrong way.goofy

The Orange County Register reports that two members of the City Council support Disney’s request, saying the expansion would generate jobs and other benefits that would more than make up for lost tax revenue. Disney has not provided details about the expansion, but it has released a report saying it would create 1,400 jobs.

Two others council members are undecided and Mayor Tom Tait opposes it. He says restricting the city from being able to collect the tax from Disney could “jeopardize the city’s financial health.” He also points out that the city is facing $500 million unfunded pension obligation. Others say the city should collect the tax revenue to increase investment in under-served, primarily Latino neighborhoods.

A vote on the issue could come as early as July 7th.