The Governor of Florida yesterday signed new bill into a law that terminates the ‘independent special districts’ created before 1968, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a 25,000-acre property in central Florida where the Walt Disney World theme park is located.
New regulation signed by Ron DeSantis revokes Disney theme park’s special tax status and self-government in Florida.
Under a 1967 arrangement, Disney was allowed to operate as a county government on its own property, building and maintaining municipal services such as electricity, water and roads, and essentially taxing itself.
DeSantis framed the law as eliminating ‘special interest carveouts,’ and has argued that Florida’s state constitution, revised in 1968, bans ‘special laws granting privileges to private corporations.’
But regardless of DeSantis’ smoke and mirrors declarations, it is rather obvious that the move was Florida governor’s retaliation amid a very public quarrel with Disney over a separate law that bans certain discussions on gender and sexual orientation in schools.
DeSantis and Disney have been trading jabs over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, which was signed into law this month. The legislation, dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by opponents, bans classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade.
Disney vowed to fight for the law to be struck down in the courts. DeSantis retorted by saying that Florida law is ‘not based on the demands of California corporate executives.’
Disney’s corporate headquarters is in Burbank, California.