The Florida legislature stripped Disney of its special tax district as punishment for opposing Florida’s new parental rights law.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and the GOP-controlled Florida legislature stripped Disney of its special tax district as punishment for the company’s public opposition to Florida’s new parental rights law.
- The bill passed “in lighting fashion” over the course of six days, and DeSantis warned there could be more consequences coming for Disney.
- The legislation eliminating the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the 55-year-old Disney government, is expected “to have huge tax implications for Disney” and will take effect in June 2023.
- The immediate financial impact is uncertain, but the bill could force Disney to change how it manages the 6 parks and 175 miles of roads within the 25,000-acre area.
- Florida Republicans argued Reedy Creek “gave Disney too much authority to self-govern,” citing Disney’s control over water and fire service in the district.
- DeSantis said, “No individual or no company in Florida is treated this way. And it’s not right to have dissimilar treatment.”
- Unraveling the Reedy Creek Improvement District will be a “complicated transaction” involving assigning public debts and delineating responsibilities for public services and will likely dominate the 2023 Florida legislative session.
- The New York Times viewed DeSantis “punishing Disney” as the beginning of a “lasting G.O.P. brawl” with major corporations.
- The Washington Post argued DeSantis “unloading” on Disney is a symbol of the unraveling of the “GOP’s cozy ties with big business.”
- CNN framed DeSantis’s actions as “GOP politicians…choosing anti-wokeness over friendliness to big business.”
- Fox News quoted DeSantis at the bill-signing ceremony, who said if “[Disney’s] gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state. We view that as a provocation, and we’re going to fight back against that.”
- The Wall Street Journal provided details on how the now-former Reedy Creek Improvement District worked and the repercussions for Orange County (Orlando), which will likely have to hike tax rates to pay for the district’s dissolution.
- National Review’s Charlie Cooke, a Floridian and typically a DeSantis supporter, labeled DeSantis’s actions “probably legal, definitely cynical” in what he called a “misguided attack” that was less “fighting” than a “tantrum.”
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© Dominic Moore, 2022