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Disney, Universal battle tax bill for Florida theme parks

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/23/2017 By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press
In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 photo, cars travel one of the roads leading to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. (AP Photo/John Raoux) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 photo, cars travel one of the roads leading to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Orlando's theme parks have taken to the courts to resolve disagreements over property taxes that in the past have been resolved through creative tactics or negotiations.

This Nov. 8, 2016 file photo shows Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh, left, at an election party in Orlando, Fla., after he was re-elected to a second four-year term despite the thousands of dollars in donations theme park officials gave to his opponent. In lawsuits filed last year, the theme parks claimed that Singh's office had failed to use proper appraisal methodology. (AP Photo via Orlando Sentinel/Red Huber) © The Associated Press This Nov. 8, 2016 file photo shows Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh, left, at an election party in Orlando, Fla., after he was re-elected to a second four-year term despite the thousands of dollars in donations theme park officials gave to his opponent. In lawsuits filed last year, the theme parks claimed that Singh's office had failed to use proper appraisal methodology. (AP Photo via Orlando Sentinel/Red Huber)

Traditionally, the parks have gotten tax bills totaling tens of millions of dollars lowered through appeals to a property board or negotiations with county officials. The theme parks also have gotten creative by placing cows on undeveloped land and claiming agricultural exemptions.

FILE-In this Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 file photo, park guests relax and cool off with a water mist under the globe at Universal Studios City Walk in Orlando, Fla. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. (AP Photo/John Raoux) © The Associated Press FILE-In this Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 file photo, park guests relax and cool off with a water mist under the globe at Universal Studios City Walk in Orlando, Fla. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

But these days, the usual methods aren't quite doing the job, leading the parks to file lawsuits against Orange County Appraiser Rick Singh.

In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 photo, the entrance to Sea World is seen, in Orlando, Fla. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. (AP Photo/John Raoux) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 photo, the entrance to Sea World is seen, in Orlando, Fla. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

In suits filed last year, the theme parks say Singh's office failed to use proper appraisal methodology. Singh disputes that; he says he's just being fair and equitable to all taxpayers.

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