Tait Opposition To Gate Tax Ban Is The Opposite Of Conservative

Tait and Moreno feature

Anaheim Insider here.

At the brand launch celebration last week in downtown Anaheim, as the former Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau officially relaunched as Visit Anaheim, protocol dictated that the Mayor be on hand to make a few remarks.

But more than a few snickers could be heard from the back of the audience as the Mayor ticked off all the great reasons to “Visit Anaheim” – the Angels, the Convention Center, our great hotels, and of course, Disneyland.

One couldn’t help but point out the irony that if the Mayor had his way, Anaheim would not have a Convention Center expansion underway, the Angels would already be packing for their new home, and no new four-diamond hotels would be in various stages of the pipeline.

That left Disneyland, but tonight, the Mayor appears destined to add Disney to the ranks of things about Anaheim that everyone likes – except Tait.

However, in his zeal to oppose anything – ANYTHING – that might appear to grow the economic engine that is the Anaheim Resort, the public policy contortions the Mayor has undergone become more hilarious, more sad, and yes, more leftist, with each passing day.

The Mayor, then a member of the City Council, was one of a unanimous city council that supported the 1996 Disney deal. This deal expanded the Anaheim Resort, had the city issuing hundreds of millions of dollars of bonds, backed by a portion of tax revenue generated in the Resort, and the city paying for the massive Mickey & Friends parking structure. It also imposed was is commonly referred to in Anaheim as the “Gate Tax Moratorium” for 20 years, from 1996 to 2016.

The gate tax ban policy before the council tonight for a 30- to 45-year extension, also referred to as a Moratorium, is the same the one the City Council approved 19 years ago.

Since today’s Council cannot bind the hands of a future Council or ballot measure from imposing a local tax targeting entertainment admission tickets, the solution to create a stable business climate designed to attract Disney investment is to contractually bind the City to rebate any gate tax proceeds to Disney. The effect of this policy is not to create a “giveaway”, but to remove any incentive to ever impose such a tax.

After all, good, conservative economic policy would dictate that you don’t tax the hand that feeds you. And the Mayor would seem to agree, signing the OCGOP’s taxpayer protection pledge in which the candidate, in this case Tait, agreed to oppose all tax increases and oppose all efforts to impose taxes.

Flash forward to today. The policy enacted with Tait’s support 20 years ago has been a success by all measures. Disney employment has doubled. Hotel tax collection in Anaheim have more than doubled. Employment by neighbor hotels, restaurants, and other business are also way up. It is a model of conservative governance – agree to keep taxes low, businesses invest, employment rises, and general taxes on the bigger economic pie lead the government to a strong balance sheet.

The policy before the Council tonight is, if anything, even more conservative. The only part being discussed is extending the gate tax moratorium, and Disney promising to invest at least $1 billion expanding the parks. Whether the investment means a Star Wars Land, a Marvel Land, or a Frozen Land remains to be seen. But unlike 1996, when Tait supported the agreement, this policy does not obligate the City to take on any new debt, or pay for any infrastructure. Disney is paying for all that.

So if you supported the Disney deal in 1996, how can you not support a new, more conservative version of the deal? After all, unlike some other public private partnerships in the Anaheim Resort, the Orange County Register Editorial Board and the Lincoln Club of Orange County, two key Tait allies, have even blessed the deal. Low taxes and private investment are good things, right?

Well, that’s where the sad state of affairs on Tait and Anaheim politics vis a vis the Resort come in. You see, the Mayor has so locked himself into opposing to anything having to do with the Resort and “Big Business” in Anaheim that he can’t even support a conservative, common sense, low-tax policy that he has already supported before!

In the Orange County Register coverage of his opposition, he called himself “wiser” than in 1996. But on the contrary, as we have pointed out, he is just more locked into being against everything.

Imagine a politician offering these words, and what would you use to describe him:

“It is not that I think we need a split-roll tax or property tax increase today. However, it is a mistake to tie the hands of future voters and of the Legislature. We have no crystal ball. What we do know is that the state has several major financial pressures looming, including billions in unfunded pension liabilities and medical retirement obligations. The state has borrowed billions for water projects, roads, high speed rail, and schools. We cannot anticipate the needs of state city in 10, 20 or 30 years. And who are we to decide what people who aren’t even born yet will want to do with their votes and taxpayer money?”

In other words, if the state’s obligations get too high, we should ditch Prop 13 and increase property taxes to pay the bill.

Now look at Tom Tait’s op-ed in the Register:

“It is not that I think we need this tax today. However, it is a mistake to tie the hands of future voters and taxpayers. We have no crystal ball. What we do know is that the city has several major financial pressures looming, including $560 million in unfunded pension liabilities and $160 million in unfunded medical retirement obligations. The council majority, against my wishes, voted to borrow $200 million to expand the Convention Center. We cannot anticipate the needs of our city in 10, 20 or 30 years. And who are we to decide what people who aren’t even born yet will want to do with their votes and taxpayer money?”

How is that any different from the first post as an excuse to go after Prop 13 if “the need is great”? Answer: it’s not.

tait and moreno chat medNo conservative, anti-tax leader believes that the right policy is to tax your economic engines in time of need. Whenever possible, we should take tax increases off the table. Conservatives believe we should cut taxes, or at least keep them steady, to create an environment in which a growing private sector helps bring revenue to government for needed services.

Leftist activists in Anaheim know what is at stake in tonight’s vote, because they know that their best way to grow the government beats is to impose a new tax on Disney guests. The only shocking news is that Tait continues to make allegiance – effectively – with Jose F. Moreno in his drive to impose this new tax in Anaheim.

24 comments

  1. “No conservative, anti-tax leader believes that the right policy is to tax your economic engines in time of need. ”

    Really? So who exactly do you tax in time of need?

    Oh, right.

    I guess the only solution left is to fire cops and firefighters. Putting public safety behind sacred cows– there’s a REAL vision of conservative economic practice.

    Tonight’s vote has absolutely NOTHING to do with economic theory. It’s the city council deciding what a fair price for a basic public right is– the right to vote. <– That right there is the antithesis of conservative government.

    Only a liberal would advocate that the government has the right to tell the people what's best for them.

    • Disney provided Anaheim with nearly $150 million in tax revenue last year, but for some, that’s not enough. For some, there is no “enough.” If Anaheim can’t gouge Disney’s guests more, we’ll have to “fire cops and firefighters.” Public safety is always the go-to for the left-wing trying to promote the idea that Anaheim’s residents and visitors aren’t taxed enough.

      I bet Anaheim gets more tax revenue than any City in Orange County. At that point, its a spending problem, not a revenue problem. You’ll never be able to tax enough to satiate big-government advocates like Tait.

      • Ya’ll need to get your stories straight.

        I’m on record (recently) claiming Anaheim has a spending problem, not a taxation problem.

        Given that Tait has a half billion in spending and giveaways in recent memory, I hazard to guess he’d agree.

        Only on this site would you see someone who consistently votes to keep government out of private enterprise labeled a “big-government advocate”. Ridiculous.

        • *Tait has opposed a half billion in spending and giveways . . .

        • “Y’all need to get your stories straight”

          Seriously?

          You have been spending too much time with your friend Cynthia. The distinction between you two is quickly fading, right down to the syntax.

        • Laissez-faire didn’t work so well in Anaheim in the 70’s and 80’s. There were pay-by-the-hour motels and crime-ridden streets outside the Magic Kingdom. Only through a collaborative partnership between Disney and Anaheim did the Disney Resort happen… and that has paid big dividends for both Disney as well as the Anaheim residents.

          The idea that we can ignore downtown Anaheim and four-star hotels will just show up and beg to build here is not realistic. Anaheim is wonderful, but it’s not Dana Point on the ocean.

          The City needs to continue to work collaboratively with its largest tax generator to keep the economic engine humming and build on its success.

          • What is this, pick arguments until they stick day?

            This proposal has absolutely nothing to do with hookers, blow, or four star hotels.

            If you want to rehash that argument, you’re going to need a time machine.

            There’s a big difference between working collaboratively and negotiating the selling price of your constitutional rights.

          • Agreed. Far too often people forget what Anaheim looked like before the Resort. What we see today took a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s a shame to see Tait’s CATER crowd undermine so much of that.

            • Anyone here advocating for a return to hookers and blow?

              Anyone?

              . . .

              Bueller? BUELLER?

              Opposing selling away your right to vote doesn’t undermine a thing. Except maybe oligarchy.

              Yes, it undermines oligarchy.

  2. Ryan, you have drunk too deeply from the cup of progressivism. The right to elect our representatives is a “basic public right.” Direct democracy is not. And frankly, your seeming contention that NOT imposing a tax is something that must be put to a city-wide vote is a cockamamie idea.

    And your green eye-shade approach to taxation is right out of the Bob Dole school of Republicanism that was political loser until Ronald Reagan replaced it with growth economics.

    When people who claim they don’t want to impose a tax fight like hell to keep that tax on the table, one has to question the sincerity of the claim.

    • Get a copy of the California Constitution.

      The PEOPLE have an inalienable right to vote on new taxes.

      Mind your own cup.

      • OK.

        Maybe there is a parallel universe somewhere in which NOT imposing a tax is the equivalent of a new tax. But on this planet, no tax is not a new tax.

        • YOU’RE STRIPPING THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON A NEW TAX!

          What part of this is hard for you?

          • The part is that is nonsense, Ryan. No right to vote on a new tax is being denied. None.

            • Balderdash.

              1) People vote to enact a gate tax.

              2) This obliterates that outcome.

              3) Thus, right to vote being denied.

              It’s really not that hard.

              • It’s only hard for you to understand. A gate tax would be in place and collected, but it would also have to be rebated to Disney per the agreement. It is intended to be a disincentive to impose a gate tax, but it does not negate the right to vote for a gate tax.

                • Poppycock.

                  Sure, you can have the right to vote.

                  You just don’t have a right to have your vote counted.

                  I’ve seen you make some interesting logic pretzels, but this is an artistic expression well beyond your normal talent.

                  • Any such vote counts, and the vote of everyone who casts a ballot counts. What the development agreement with Disney does is state what will be done with the revenue from such a tax if such a tax were enacted.

                    You don’t like it, Ryan. I get it. But not liking it doesn’t give you license to invent some phantom right to a plebiscite on a decision not to impose a tax.

                    • Hey Anaheim:

                      Your right to vote is just a phantom right.

                      You don’t really have a right to vote.

                      — Matt Cunningham

                    • That’s not what I said, Ryan. It’s too bad you resort to twisting my words, but I have come to expect hyperventilation rather honest argumentation from you.

                    • It’s after 5:00 p.m., Matt. Ryan has gone home for the day. He won’t be able to respond to you until he’s back at work tomorrow morning.

                    • Very funny, LMAO. Original? Not so much, but funny.

                      Matt, that’s exactly what you said. Maybe it’s not what you meant, but it’s what you said.

  3. Reading this morning’s article in the OCR – did anyone else notice that the Mayor now says it was he who “negotiated” a 20-yr vs everlasting gate-tax moratorium in 1996 and got the Council at the time to agree with him.

    It seems pretty fishy that this claim is being made at the 11th hour (though not unusual for that camp,) when its never been heard before. Banking as usual that neither the Register or anyone else will call them on it outright or do their homework with a simple fact check.

    Can anyone here verify that he did or did not actually do that?

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