(The Center Square)
The Walt Disney Company has officially lost its cozy relationship with Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Monday in Lake Buena Vista to sign House Bill 9B, which would end many of Disney’s governing privileges with the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Disney will retain most of its tax privileges and critics have accused DeSantis of appointing political contributors to the new board.
“The corporate empire will finally end, there’s no new sheriff in town and accountability will be the order of the day.” DeSantis said.
“They have been since the 1960s [Disney] Florida has enjoyed privileges unlike any other company or individual in the state. DeSantis said Disney essentially had its own government, including exemptions from laws.
DeSantis has given huge benefits to Disney, not paid his fair share of taxes and accumulated more than $700 million in municipal debt.
RELATED: New Disney+ Show Teaches Kids Critical Race Theory and Reparations
One DeSantis critic in the Legislature says a better idea than stripping Disney of its privileges with Reedy Creek would be to close the corporate tax loopholes the company uses.
Support conservative voices!
Sign up to receive the latest Political news, insight and commentary delivered straight to your inbox.
State Rep. Anna Escamani, D-Orlando, said in a statement that Disney would retain the same tax breaks as before and that the new board would be filled with “hostile conservative cronies” appointed by DeSantis.
“It’s absolutely wild to see a self-proclaimed capitalist like DeSantis celebrating a government takeover of a private board, which is what the governor did today,” Escamani said. “Disney still maintains the same tax breaks — but their First Amendment rights are suppressed, and it sends a message to any private individual or company that if you don’t do what the governor wants, you will be punished.”
Today Governor DeSantis signed the Reedy Creek adverse acquisition bill. Below is Rep. Escamani’s response.
You can also read it here: https://t.co/ROVNLaWfGR pic.twitter.com/ULLGaaFHSW
– Representative. Anna V. Escamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) February 27, 2023
DeSantis mentioned Disney’s objection to the Parental Choice Education Act of 2022, which would have prohibited teachers from teaching children in kindergarten through third grade about gender identity and other topics.
“Disney has really gone against the grain of protecting young children, and making sure students are able to go to school learning to read, write, add and subtract, and not tell teachers they can change their gender.” DeSantis said.
DeSantis noted that Disney’s protest of the legislation was only a “mild annoyance” but added that Disney’s actions showed there was a movement within the corporation itself to inject sexual material into children’s programming.
“We want our kids to be kids, to be entertained, to enjoy school without imposing an agenda on them.” DeSantis said, “If you’re going that way as a corporation, those are not the values we want to promote in the state of Florida.”
RELATED: DeSantis administrators go after liquor license of foundation that hosted ‘Drag Queen Christmas’ attended by minors
DeSantis pointed out that the situation with Disney is unjustifiable from a policy perspective, noting that it is unfair that one theme park gets preferential treatment over another.
“We believe it’s not good policy, we believe it’s not a sustainable or sustainable thing to be joined at the hip with this one California-based company,” DeSantis said, “So, we said we’re going to do something. That is.”
Disney will be treated like any other theme park in Florida, according to DeSantis, and that includes Florida laws that have exempted the area up until this point.
Disney will pay off $700 million in municipal debt incurred during the corporation’s self-administration, not by taxpayers living in Orange and Osceola counties.
Disney is also responsible for paying its share of the infrastructure, which DeSantis said has not been paying for years.
“I’m glad we can stand up against some of the insanity,” DeSantis said, adding that he’s glad the Legislature is working toward more permanent protections for every Floridian.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.