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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

City Falsely Lists Pixar As Major Source Of Revenue

City Punked Again:
City Touts Pixar's Revenue As Animation Giant Outsources Receipts To Burbank

As part of an attempt to gin up support for Emeryville's flagging Redevelopment Agency and carry water for Pixar, the city's e-newsletter website recently listed Pixar as a "major" source of sales tax revenue for the city, however at least one council member asserts Pixar claims that it outsourced its sales and ultimately paid only $8000 in taxes to the city last year.
In the wake of the much ballyhooed looming February 1st dissolution of redevelopment agencies state-wide and the flood of negative publicity about what redevelopment has wrought over the years, Emeryville's City Hall has gone on the offensive trying to seize the narrative that the Redevelopment Agency here has been a great source of good, but the city's claims in its January e-newsletter have run headlong into countervailing public reports about Pixar from council member Kurt Brinkman in an August 2011 interview with the Tattler.
Emeryville gets $8000 
and a security fence.

Emeryville's website features a new page highlighting the record of redevelopment in Emeryville and Pixar is listed as a "major" economic redevelopment project that has produced "dramatic results".  Pixar shares top billing in revenue with six other taxpayer funded redevelopment projects that has contributed $25 million to the General Fund according to the city.

Councilman Brinkman complained in the Tattler interview that Pixar has switched its gross receipts accounting to Burbank California, the headquarters for parent company Walt Disney after the city started talking about removing its controversial business tax cap last year, thereby making Pixar's massive profits out-of-bounds for Emeryville.  Mr Brinkman used the clever accounting move by Pixar as reason to not remove the cap. Council member Brinkman reasons that if the cap is in place then Pixar will be encouraged to accurately report sales in Emeryville and the city will collect more in taxes, an eventuality that has not come to pass.

Emeryville seems to like abuse and
Pixar seems to like giving it.
Maybe Pixar and Emeryville
should get a room.
The cap, unprecedented in the Bay Area, formerly limited the taxes for Pixar and other corporations doing business here at $117,000.  Emeryville voters raised the cap last November to $300,000, but it's not expected to effect Pixar after the outsourcing maneuver.  The cap, even at the new raised level forces small business to pay a much higher rate than the largest businesses.

In addition to outsourcing its gross receipts, Pixar lead a successful campaign to lower its assessed property tax, netting them a $108,000 refund last year.


  1. can mr. brinkman also tell us how much pixar (and wareham and madison marquette) paid for traffic impact fees, school fees, building permit fees and how much they have paid in property taxes that is earmarked for measure a, the school parcel tax passed by voters in 2003?

  2. The City is 'hard' for Pixar. Why? Movie stars, bro. They like those movie stars.

  3. Brinkman is such a tool.
    The tax bill for Pixar would have to get pretty damn high before it would be worth it to move the operation. Especially considering all the custom building they have done.
    Otherwise, kick the bums out and get someone in the space that will pay tax.
    The school used to get a lot of equipment from Pixar, but that has been slowly drying up since Disney took over. They don't really offer much to the community anymore.

  4. Yes, don't you just love these family friendly businesses. Money back from property taxes, evasion through guile and manipulation of site monies, and millions garnered through the city of Emeryville's redevelopment funds. Whose paying for all of this? Why, it's the general public. And before our schools can be paid a penny, we have to service the $14.1 million interest on redevelopment debt each year. Thank you Pixar and other corporations who love those subsidies made on the backs of children and families. Why is Pixar getting a property tax return when they barely paid a penny for the land etc?

  5. It all comes down to our City's attorney and Pixar's attorney. Duh, who will win that fight? Why does our city attorney lack the aptitude to predict that these things are coming down the pipeline, and more. What's next?, City labor, police, fire and management unions will grabing all that is left on the table. Who wants a raise? Time to move to a payroll tax for all employee's in Emeryville (Non-profit and Private). And while we're at it, lets cap the entire City's payroll to a reasonable number.

  6. It is particularly odd that Pixar doesn't even offer a Pixar store for tourists. Even Disney has a store!

    Maybe it is time that Pixar joins the community rather than being an island onto themselves.