Although a December report indicated that Florida lawmakers might be willing to allow Disney to continue their self-governing power, DeSantis firmly denies the possibility as a bill altering Disney’s privileges is introduced.
In April 2022, following a rift between Disney and DeSantis, DeSantis unveiled a plan to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, where Disney is located, which allows the state to dissolve Disney’s special status to self-govern and receive massive tax breaks. The plan would include replacing Disney’s self-governing authority with a state-run board.
DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, just announced:
‘The corporate kingdom has come to an end. Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes. Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”
Report: DeSantis plans to take control of Disney's land, take away its self-governance https://t.co/mnG4MAaTRG
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) January 6, 2023
Disney found itself embroiled in controversy following a string of woke films, leftist company ideology, and criticism of a Florida bill seeking to protect children from exposure to mature content. Florida’s Rights in Education Bill sometimes called the Don’t Say Gay bill, limits teaching children about gender identity and sex in the classroom.
Disney’s woke agenda and criticism over the education bill caused a rift between Disney and state officials and will likely cost the company millions. Disney used to maintain a family-friendly image before waking and slamming concerned parents and their advocates in Florida over the Parental Rights in Education Bill while pushing LGBT and sexualized content into children’s entertainment.
With the changes proposed by DeSantis, Disney will be responsible for paying $700 million dollars in unsecured debt that taxpayers might have otherwise paid. During the dispute, Disney executive Peter Rice took a strong stance against the anti-grooming bill. Initially, CEO Bob Chapek remained quieter but was believed to have been pressured to speak against Florida’s new bill. Both Rice and Chapek have been let go from the company. With previous CEO Bob Iger returning to lead the company whose family-friendly reputation has been shredded.
Disney has self-governed the area known as Reedy Creek since 1967. The district covers parts of two counties and sits within Orange and Osceola counties. The Reedy Creek district is currently governed by 19 landowners, with Disney World being the largest. They oversee land use and provide public services, including fire protection and emergency medical services. The district also provides water services, electricity, and sanitation while operating and maintaining all public roads and bridges.