Ron DeSantis officially ends Disney’s special tax status in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill overturning the Walt Disney Company’s tax deal with the state – after the entertainment giant objected to his so-called ‘Don’t Tell’ law. gay”.

Claiming that the company aimed to “inject sexuality” into its content, DeSantis said it was not “comfortable that this type of agenda would get special treatment in my state.”

Adopted in 1967 to lure Disney to Florida, the so-called Reedy Creek Improvement District gives the company virtual autonomy — including control of police and fire units as well as infrastructure management — at its properties.

The abrupt cancellation of the 55-year-old pact came after Disney opposed legislation initiated by DeSantis that banned teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation for children in kindergarten through third grade. .

Proponents of the law say it protects children from inappropriate sexual material in the younger grades and protects them from forms of indoctrination.

But vocal critics – including Disney’s top brass – called it a “cruel” attack on the LGBTQ community and dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation ending the Walt Disney Company’s self-governing status.
REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File

“Our goal as a company is to see this law repealed by the legislature or struck down by the courts, and we remain committed to supporting national and state organizations working to achieve this,” Disney said after the bill passed. of law.

President Joe Biden said Friday that Florida’s “parental rights in education” bill DeSantis signed signals a shift in the Republican Party.

“It’s not even conservative in the traditional sense of conservatism,” he said. “It’s mean, it’s ugly. Look what’s happening in Florida: God, they’re going after Mickey Mouse.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Governor DeSantis has accused Disney of promoting “sexuality” to children.
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File

DeSantis resumed his attacks on Disney’s ideological priorities just before he signed the bill into law at a Friday press conference.

He said the special tax district was a “partnership that developed very early on with Walt Disney – I don’t think Walt would appreciate what’s going on with that company right now,” he said, making reference to the founder of the company.

The controversial legislation is expected to come into force in June 2023, a window that could allow the two sides to reach a revised agreement.

The Walt Disney Co. logo is seen on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 7, 2017.
Walt Disney Company will be subject to the payment of more taxes starting in the summer of 2023.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

With the dissolution of the special district, the Orlando theme park — one of Florida’s largest employers — would come under the governance of Orange and Osceola counties.

DeSantis raised concerns that the new structure would impose on municipalities a current Disney debt, estimated at $2 billion, for the services they would take.

DeSantis dismissed those concerns and said the company would now face a much higher tax bill that would cover the costs.

Opened in 1971, the attraction employs approximately 77,000 people and is one of the most visited theme parks in the world.

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