Florida Gov. DeSantis places Disney under state control
Disney officially has a “new sheriff in town” after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that placed the Mouse House’s special tax district under state control.
The Republican-backed bill rebrands Disney’s self-governed Reedy Creek Improvement District as the “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.”
DeSantis gained the authority to appoint the members of a five-person oversight board for the special district — a power that Disney formerly held.
Disney will be required to comply with state regulations within the district, where it had previously operated with near-autonomy for decades.
The finalized bill keeps the district intact after DeSantis and other Republican officials had initially called for it to be dissolved entirely.
The bill-signing marked the culmination of a months-long feud between DeSantis and Disney after the company and its former CEO Bob Chapek publicly lobbied against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, branded by critics as “Don’t Say Gay”, which bars teachers in the state from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation with students below fourth grade.
The bill left the district’s debt obligations and other financial structures intact. DeSantis vowed at a press conference earlier this month that the changes would not result in any additional tax burden for Floridians.
The pledge came after some critics had suggested the overhaul would shift Disney’s debt obligations to taxpayers.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
“Disney’s going to pay its fair share of taxes and Disney’s going to honor the debt and that’s exactly what this proposed piece of legislation will do.”
The changes to its special tax district mark another setback for Disney, which is in the midst of a turnaround effort under CEO Bob Iger.
The company recently announced a major cost-cutting plan that included 7,000 layoffs.
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