Disney stripped of special tax status in Florida for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
The Florida House of Representatives gave its final vote to a bill that would dissolve Walt Disney World‘s private government.
The measure would abolish the Reedy Creek Improvement District, an organization founded by Walt Disney himself in 1967 to manage infrastructure at his 38-square-mile Orlando estate — like utilities and a fire station — and to regulate its own construction. .
The change would come into effect in June 2023.
The move could have tax implications for Disney, whose series of theme parks have turned Orlando into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
Disney, the state’s largest private employer, had condemned a measure that opponents have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The movie giant has slammed the law that bans teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
In March, Disney announced it would suspend political donations in the state and pledged to support organizations that oppose the law.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis later lashed out at the entertainment company and defended the law as reasonable.
“Disney and other woke corporations will no longer get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns,” Republican politician DeSantis wrote during a fundraising campaign Wednesday.
“If we’re going to hold the Democratic machine and its corporate lackeys accountable, we need to unite now.”
Democrats slammed Disney’s proposal as clear retaliation against the company and warned local property owners could be hit with big tax bills if they were to absorb Disney’s bond debt.
disney is one of Florida’s largest private employers.
Last year, it had more than 60,000 workers in the state.
It is not immediately clear how the company or local governments around its properties would be affected if the district were disbanded.
The creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and the control it gave Disney over 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares) in Florida was a crucial part of the company’s decision to build near Orlando in the 1960s. .
Company officials said they needed autonomy to plan a futuristic city with the theme park. The city never materialized, however; instead, it turned into an Epcot theme park.
The Standard has approached Disney representatives for comment.