Disney to lose special tax status for opposing Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ bill | Florida
Florida lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill that would revoke the Walt Disney Co.’s special tax status.
The bill is now heading to the office of Governor Ron DeSantis, who is virtually guaranteed to sign it.
The Republican-led State House in Florida voted 70 to 38 to remove a special tax district created by a 1967 law that allows Disney to self-govern the roughly 25,000-acre Orlando area. where its Walt Disney World theme park resort is located. The state Senate passed the measure on Wednesday.
DeSantis, in a surprise move, had asked lawmakers to review the legislation in a special session he called this week. He did not immediately comment on the bill’s passage on Thursday.
“If Disney wants to fight, they picked the wrong guy,” DeSantis wrote in an email to supporters on Wednesday, adding, “I will not allow a California-based woke corporation to run our state.”
The law would eliminate a handful of special tax districts, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District which covers approximately 25,000 acres in Orange and Osceola counties.
This structure makes Disney, one of the largest private employers in the state, and other landowners responsible for providing services such as firefighting, power, water, and roads. They in turn benefit from tax and fee relief.
The change would come into effect in June 2023.
In a statement to CNN, Democratic State Rep. Fentrice Driskell said, “This is going to cost the Orange and Osceola county governments and therefore taxpayers billions of dollars, I’m talking about an additional tax burden estimated at between 2 $200 and $2,800 per family.”
Disney was criticized last month by many members of the LGBTQ+ community, including some Disney employees, for initially failing to take a public stand against the “don’t say gay” measure, then condemning the legislation and saying that she would pause all her political donations in Florida.
This sparked a storm of condemnation against the company by many Republicans.
DeSantis, a Republican who is a potential candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024, wants to hit back at Disney for his opposition to a law that bans classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity for children. students from kindergarten to third grade.
The governor signed the bill, dubbed the “don’t say gay” bill by opponents, last month.
The law, which is due to come into force on July 1, also prohibits such teaching that is “not age or developmentally appropriate” for older students. It is being challenged in court.