Florida lawmakers consider special district status for Disney

Southeast

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NewsNation) — The story of Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is adding another chapter.

With the return of Bob Iger at the helm of Disney, Florida lawmakers have reportedly considered keeping a special tax designation in place for Disney World, an incentive that was revoked earlier this year by DeSantis.

In March, Disney voiced opposition to the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, which opponents dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The legislation bars instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.

Disney employees threatened to walk out in protest of the bill, and then-CEO Bob Chapek publicly criticized the bill and announced Disney would temporarily suspend political donations in the state. DeSantis accused the company of bending to cancel culture.

In response, DeSantis acted to dissolve a more than 50-year-old special district that allows Disney World to operate as its own local government.

“You’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state, we view that as a provocation, and we are gonna fight back against that,” DeSantis said at the time.

With Iger returning to lead the company and lawmakers potentially considering a reversal, DeSantis’ office said the governor “does not make U-turns.”

“The governor was right to champion removing the extraordinary benefit given to one company through the Reedy Creek Improvement District,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We will have an even playing field for businesses in Florida, and the state certainly owes no special favors to one company.”

 As the Disney and Desantis feud unfolds, Disney parkgoers reacted.

“I just think it’s a long time overdue … they shouldn’t have that kind of privilege,” one parkgoer said.

“Disney is such a reason that folks come to here to central Florida. They bring in such revenue to the state and I think it’s a bad decision on his part,” another said.

DeSantis’ office said Disney’s debts won’t impact Florida taxpayers and a plan will be released soon.

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