Appellate Court Judge Award Disney Hotel Millions in Tax Relief and Screwed the Orange County Schools, Students and People Striving to Earn a Livable Wage
- Category: Politics
- Published: Tuesday, 07 July 2020 11:30
- Written by Lawrence A Robinson
Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh has questions after an appellate court ruling could release Walt Disney World and other hotel companies from paying millions in property taxes.
Singh's office on Thursday asked the Fifth District Court of Appeal to hold another hearing in a legal battle with Disney over the assessment of Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort, a luxury hotel with an annual property tax bill of more than $4 million.
The court ruled that Singh's office had improperly inflated the value of the Disney hotel. Rick Singh's new tax assessment more than doubled the previous assessments.
In its ruling, the court declared the method Singh's office used to appraise the Disney hotel was illegal under Florida law. However, the method used, known as the 'Rushmore' method, is the same method many other appraisers also use.
Could this be an ugly form of implicit bias in the District Courts? If many property appraisers use and approve this 'Rushmore' method to valuate hotel properties, is it fair that Disney World officers can use the courts to change the standard practices to suit them? The appellate court's ruling would change a proven method, just to make Disney World happy.
So, the court is proving that it is very biased by giving Disney World preferable tax treatment, over and above what local property owners will receive.
The long range effect of this court's action is bad for the citizens of Orange County. The courts ruling could impact thousands of properties in Florida." Which in turn would negatively affect the funding of hundreds of thousands of students in the state since education is primarily funded through the collection of property taxes.
So, where is the Orange County School Board's official statement concerning this ruling?
Hotel housekeepers and other low income employees at Disney World endure issues that can be solved if they could receive a livable wage from the entertainment giant. Court room judge, chock-full of implicit biases, widens the gap between what is fair and what is the law. Disney has refused to pay a livable wage to their employees and now the court's system further decimates their 'hope' and increases the desperation of the average wage earner who is only trying to survive.
Mayor Jerry Demings is promoting a tax increase on workers to improve Orange County transportation but has yet to speak up about this Disney ruling.
In a prepared statement, Singh's office called the ruling "surprising" and said that lower tax assessments for Disney "would lessen its property tax responsibility to Orange County and directly impact the areas public-school funding."
Singh isn't asking the court to revise its decision, he wants the court to reconsider whether it really means that the appraisal method is illegal for all hotels. If the appellate court won't reconsider, Singh wants the Florida Supreme Court to decide the issue.
Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh has been under constant attack by corporate giants because of his aggressive actions to make them pay their fair share. It appears that the court room judges are siding with big business in their effort to maintain the status quo.