Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wanted Disney to pay for opposing the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill and it looks like he made good on his threat.
As The Blast previously reported, the Senate and the House had previously voted to strip Disney of its official special distract status earlier in the week. On Friday, the bill made its way to the Florida governor’s desk, where he signed it into law.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Strips Disney Of Special District Status
As Deadline reported, it’s not immediately clear what the financial impact is going to be on Disney. The Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the land is called, comprises around 25,000 acres of land in the Orlando area. The special status, which has been in place for over half a century, allows Disney to build new structures and pay impact fees for construction without needing to obtain the approval of a local planning commission.
The legislation will take away Disney’s special district status on June 1 of next year. The special status was granted by state law in 1967 and allows Disney to self-govern by collecting taxes and providing emergency services. Democrats have warned that dissolving the district could leave Orange County or Osceola County residents footing the bill for nearly $1 billion dollars in bond debt.
DeSantis accused Disney of pushing an LGBTQ+ agenda, claiming that the company had an “intentional agenda” to “inject sexuality into the programming that is provided to our youngest kids.”
“I’m just not comfortable having that type of agenda get special treatment in my state,” he said. “I just can’t do it.”
DeSantis also downplayed the potential impact that this move will have on local residents and their taxes, saying, “We have everything thought out. Don’t let anyone tell you that Disney is going to get a tax cut out of this. They are going to pay more taxes as a result of this.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Faces Criticism For Potential Disney Disaster
In 1967 Florida granted special governance and tax status to Disney World. Maybe that was bad policy. But to revoke it because @GovRonDeSantis objects to Disney’s position on unrelated legislation smacks of govt retaliation for exercising free speech. Bad look for a conservative. https://t.co/LZ8suQ2wTP
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) April 20, 2022
The Florida Governor hasn’t been shy about letting the world know that the decision to remove Disney’s special status came after Disney opposed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The bill, known officially as the Parental Rights in Educational bill, prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms. According to the bill, these lessons, “may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” This bill will allow parents to sue the school or individual teachers if they believe these discussions have been held.
Only a day before DeSantis signed the bill into law, Lloyd Blankfein, a senior chairman of Goldman Sachs, tweeted: “In 1967 Florida granted special governance and tax status to Disney World. Maybe that was bad policy. But to revoke it because @GovRonDeSantis objects to Disney’s position on unrelated legislation smacks of govt retaliation for exercising free speech. Bad look for a conservative.”
However, according to the Associated Press, DeSantis isn’t too worried about the “bad look” that he might be receiving. In a fundraising pitch this week, he warned, “Disney and other woke corporations won’t get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer.”
Now that Disney has been stripped of its special district status, many wonder which corporation DeSantis will target next.