Graceland in Memphis is a part of “one of the most ridiculous corporate welfare deals in quite some time,” according to Slate.com.
As many news outlets reported this past week, the people who oversee Graceland threatened to disassemble the mansion and relocate it to Nashville or even Asia if they didn’t get their way on corporate welfare.
Graceland, of course, was the home of entertainer Elvis Presley for nearly 20 years.
According to Slate.com, city officials and Graceland personnel have a preliminary agreement whereupon Graceland gets a bigger cut out of city and county property and sales tax revenues for a new expansion project.
“So why, you might ask, is a city that regularly ranks among the nation’s poorest giving several hundred million dollars in tax breaks to a long-dead rock star’s house museum where the cheapest ticket costs $41?” asked Henry Grabar, writing for the website.
“The company and the city came to a preliminary agreement in February that approves those plans and dedicates even more tax revenue to the Graceland master plan, which the company claims will involve $100 million in investment, and includes an agreement to grant $150,000 a year in local community groups for five years.”
The current package, Grabar went on to say, would add between $194 million and $269 million in reduced taxes for Graceland.
“This is the typical logic backing America’s $45 billion-or-so in annual local tax breaks for corporations. It rests on the believability of the corporation’s threats to relocate or not invest at all. In reality, growth often happens one way or another, and corporate welfare does not have a track record of producing great results. But it’s also true that cities have weakened their hands by making subsidies the norm,” Grabar wrote.
On Saturday, The Miami Herald reported that Graceland officials had no plan to relocate Graceland.
Graceland seems to do just fine on its own without any corporate welfare.
According to Graceland’s own website, the venue has hosted more than 20 million visitors from every state and every country in the world since it opened in the early 1980s and hosts 500,000 visitors a year.