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April 22, 2022

Florida Poised to Strip Disney of Self-Governing Status

Promoting the Left’s woke and radical gender ideology may have cost Disney dearly.

Back in the 1960s, when Walt Disney was looking into expanding and building his dream theme park, Florida became the perfect location. When Disney bought up what was then little other than swampland, he struck a deal with the state to create a self-governing district to be managed by Disney known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The 1967 deal exempted Disney from a plethora of taxes and regulations and was instrumental in allowing for the building of Disney World.

Well, following Disney’s recent dustup over Florida’s passage of the Parental Rights in Education law, which Disney, parroting the radical Left, deceptively called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Republican lawmakers responded by reviewing Disney’s “independent special district” and considering whether the deal should be rescinded.

It didn’t take long for the Republican-controlled legislature to recommend that the 55-year-old agreement be terminated. As state Representative Randy Fine, who led the effort against Disney, argued, “Not only have we allowed this independent special district to be created, but we have given it extraordinary powers that other special districts do not have.”

While there is legitimate concern over the special district Disney self-governs, there is no doubt that the primary motive behind the Florida legislature’s effort to end the special relationship had much to do with Disney leadership’s increasing engagement in political activism — at the expense of the state. Fine essentially admitted as much when he explained: “When you poke the bear or you kick the bees nest, sometimes issues come out. And I think that when the bees nest got kicked, based on how a guest in our state chose to comport itself, I think what ended up happening was the idea of special districts were taken a look at.”

On Thursday, Florida’s House passed the motion dissolving Walt Disney World’s special status deal, and now the bill heads to Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk. If DeSantis signs the bill, which at this point there’s little reason to believe he wouldn’t, Disney will be subject to huge tax implications. Last month, DeSantis stated: “What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power. I think what has happened is there’s a lot of these special privileges that are not justifiable, but because Disney had held so much sway, they were able to sustain a lot of special treatment over the years.”

Disney could have easily avoided all this if the company’s execs had stuck to simply running their company for the benefit of all customers instead of getting into a needless and nasty political fight. “Look, there’s policy disputes, and that’s fine, but when you’re trying to impose a woke ideology on our state, we view that as a significant threat,” DeSantis observed. “This wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated. So in Florida, we take a very big stand against that.” Now, Disney will deservedly reap the consequences of pushing woke sexual deviancy that the vast majority of Americans reject. Furthermore, this will serve as a warning to other corporations in the Sunshine State that might have been tempted to bow to the leftist woke activists as a means of promoting their business. The message is clear: Florida is bad for woke-promoting business.

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