Officials at Elvis Presley’s Graceland attraction must wait a little while longer before they know whether they will receive corporate welfare to expand.
This, according to several media outlets, who said Memphis City Council members have postponed a vote on the expansion project.
Graceland’s Public Relations Office did not return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Friday.
According to The Associated Press, council members this week agreed for the fifth time to delay a vote related to a plan to provide tax incentives for a $100 million expansion of the Presley-themed tourist attraction.
Graceland seeks government incentives to help build retail space and a recreational vehicle park, and to expand Graceland’s hotel.
Graceland also had been seeking to add soundstages that could act as concert venues.
“Council members have been concerned that the sound stages would put Graceland in competition with Memphis’ main concert venue, the FedExForum,” The AP reported.
“Graceland this week offered a new plan without the soundstages but adding a new ‘auxiliary building.’ Most council members wanted more time to review the new plan.”
As The Star reported in April, 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.
“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 Slate.com.
“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.
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.
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