A new ballot measure in California could end up costing The Walt Disney Company, Warnermedia, and NBCUniversal millions of dollars in additional annual taxes, specifically because of the extensive land ownership that comes with their theme parks and studio lots. As outlined by The Hollywood Reporter, the measure would see changes made to California's Proposition 13, a property tax amendment that only allows for the maximum amount to be levied against a property as 1% of the full cash value of the property. Due to this 1978 amendment, companies have managed to have smaller than expect property tax bills but that could now change drastically.
Momentum is building for the proposition to be completely overhauled with backers including the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and the California Teachers Assocaition. It's unclear how much the property taxes could go up if the measure succeeds and is altered, but to put into perspective how much money The Walt Disney Company is paying with the 1% cap, the property tax bill for just the Disneyland properties was for $55 million+ just in 2019. Should the cap on property taxes go up to, say, 5%, that would push the annual bill just for Disneyland to a quarter of a billion dollars for The Walt Disney Company. The proposed amendment could reportedly bring in $11.4 billion in revenue annually for the state of California to benefit public education.
Key information to keep in mind is that the proposed changes to California's Prop. 13 would only effect commercial and industrial properties with no changes to individual home owners and business with less than 50 employees. In addition, new taxes collected by changes to Prop. 13 will go towards funding public education in the state which would make large media companies fighting to prevent its passing a potential PR nightmare.0comments
Changes to the law are not confirmed to happen though. For the measure to be voted on in November then upwards of one million California signatures are required. According to THR's report, the Schools & Communities First initiative has already acquired 500,000 signatures ten months ahead of voting, so it's not even officially set to be voted on. It's unclear how the studios may attempt to fight changes to this measure as well, but should it be enacted then park goers can expect more expensive parking and popcorn at each of the theme parks in southern California.
Luckily for The Walt Disney Company, the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride just opened at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in California and is already bringing in record crowds.
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