Excerpted from this Sunday’s Commentary section in Orange County Register:
We need to stop giving away our taxpayers’ dollars to wealthy developers. The policy of handing out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize luxury hotel development must end. The people of Anaheim need that money to provide essential city services. The developers simply don’t.
On Tuesday, Anaheim’s city council will consider extending a bizarre giveaway program to the influential and powerful. We won’t address funding public safety, providing transportation for seniors, creating transitional housing for working mothers, or creating after school programs for at-risk youth. Instead, we’ll discuss why our city should give over $550 million, ($27.5 million per year for 20 years) to two hotel developers to do what they would do otherwise – build luxury hotels. One of the developers happens to be Disney.
To give perspective, our city’s annual general fund budget is about $300 million, of which the city already spends over $90 million annually in the resort district to support Disney and the other resort businesses. What’s left goes to support vital city services for our residents. Taking out another $27.5 million annually will have devastating effect on our ability to deliver vital city services to the people who live in the city.
Proponents of the luxury hotel program want Anaheim’s residents to believe their policy of giving away general fund money works. They claim that our city’s general fund is better off keeping only 10 percent of the tax from a four diamond hotel than it would be by receiving the taxes from a three diamond equivalent. Then somehow, through the magic of luxury hotels, by gifting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to corporations that don’t need it, benefits will trickle down to residents, who ultimately will pay less in taxes.
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