The Anaheim City Council voted Tuesday to end agreements that offer the Disneyland Resort tax breaks for investing in its theme parks and an adjacent shopping district, a move requested by theme park owner Walt Disney Co.
After sometimes heated debate, the council voted unanimously to end the incentive deals, which were designed to encourage Disney to build a 700-room luxury hotel at the resort and to invest in multimillion-dollar expansions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park.
Mayor Tom Tait said he was “very surprised” by Disney’s request, but added that he is optimistic that the move will be a “rare opportunity to push the reset button” with the city’s biggest employer.
But Councilwoman Lucille Kring said the end of the subsidies will mean that dozens of construction jobs to build the luxury hotel that is now on hold will be lost.
“For the city, it’s sad,” she said.
The meeting drew about 60 Disneyland workers, including several housekeepers and bakers, who called on the resort to pay its workers a living wage, regardless of whether the company gets a city tax break.
“How much is enough for them to make before they share it with the people who make the magic?” Julieta Briceno, who has worked as a housekeeper at the resort for 10 years, asked the council.
Maria Ortiz, a housekeeper at the resort for 13 years, said she is upset that working at the resort has not pulled her out of poverty.
“One day my son asked me ‘If you work at the Happiest Place on Earth, why do you always come home frustrated?’ ” she said.