Amid growing animosity between Anaheim and Walt Disney Co., the president of the media giant’s Disneyland Resort asked the city to end all tax incentive deals in hopes of promoting “cooperation and goodwill.”
In a letter sent to Anaheim’s mayor and city council, Disneyland Resort President Josh D’Amaro said he was calling for the end to two tax incentive agreements as a way to improve the company’s relationship with the city and its residents.
“Unfortunately in Anaheim, these policies have become divisive, leading to an unstable business climate and a difficult working relationship with the city,” D’Amaro said in a letter dated Aug. 21.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who has opposed tax breaks for the theme parks, called the request a “bold move” and said he is looking forward to working more cooperatively with Disney in the future.
Disneyland Resort benefits from two agreements with Anaheim.
One prohibits the city from adopting an entertainment tax on the price of admission in exchange for the resort’s promise to invest at least $1 billion by 2024. The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion, slated to open next year, meets the resort’s $1-billion obligation under that 2016 deal. Disney California Adventure Park already has announced plans to build another expansion, featuring the superheroes of Marvel comics and movies.
The second tax benefit, also adopted in 2016, would give the resort a $267-million rebate on the city’s hotel tax if Disney builds a luxury hotel. The Disneyland Resort drew up plans to build the hotel, which was set to open in 2021, but learned last week that, according to the Anaheim city attorney, the hotel project doesn’t qualify for the break because Disney moved the location of the project after the deal was reached.