DeSantis Plan Takes Control Of Disney's Land And Replaces Disney's Self-Governing Powers With State Run Board

 January 7, 2023

A bill was introduced into the Florida Legislature, on Friday, that would replace Walt Disney World's special self-governing power, with a state-run board. According to sources in his office, Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing the effort, and the intended legislation will mandate that members of the board will be appointed by the governor, according to sources in the governor's office. The notice was posted on the website of Osceola County, which houses part of Disney World along with Orange County. DeSantis' communications director, Taryn Fenske, told Fox News-

"The corporate kingdom has come to an end,"…. "Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes." Adding "Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents,"

-Taryn Fenske, DeSantis' Communications Director

Ensuring that the company will pay upwards of $700 million dollars in unsecured debt, accumulated by Disney’s special jurisdiction, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the planned legislation also assures that this debt, will not be paid by Orange County taxpayers.

After the Disney publicly opposed a new parental rights law in the state, last year, DeSantis signed a measure into law dissolving Walt Disney World’s special governing power in the state. At the bill signing ceremony, DeSantis claimed that Disney had lied about the "Parental Rights in Education" law's contents and that he viewed the company’s vow to fight it as unacceptable.

In a statement, DeSantis' former chief of staff, Adrian Lukis, told Fox News-

 "The governor is doing exactly what he said he would," …"Disney can no longer have its own government and own taxing authority, and Disney, not taxpayers, will have to be responsible for any financial consequences." adding "While this will be painful for Disney, I expect businesses throughout the state will be proud of their governor for making it clear that he doesn’t care who you are, or how politically connected you may be, no one gets special treatment in Florida,"

Though the Financial Times reportedly claimed, in December, that lawmakers were preparing to reverse course on the move to eliminate Disney World's special status, a DeSantis spokesperson denied the claim, stating-

"Governor DeSantis does not make ‘U-turns,’" adding… "The governor was right to champion removing the extraordinary benefit given to one company through the Reedy Creek Improvement District."

- DeSantis Spokesperson

Signed into law in May 1967 by then Gov. Claude Kirk following Disney lobbying efforts, the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, established a special taxing district that allows the company to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government. Disney had proposed building a recreation-oriented development on 25,000 acres of property in a remote area of Central Florida's Orange and Osceola counties, consisting of 38.5 square miles, of largely uninhabited swampland and pasture.

Because Orange and Osceola Counties did not have the services or resources needed to bring the project to life, the state legislature worked with Disney to establish the Reedy Creek Improvement District, allowing this special taxing district in exchange for improvements needed. The rest is history as the Magic Kingdom and Disney World blossomed, building itself into a self-governing corporate empire.

This corporate giant, thought it could bite the hand the hand that had fed it all those years and not suffer. The people, especially the parents of children who sought to protect their children from woke ideologies, and Governor Ron DeSantis who supported them – fought back. A pricey lesson for such a successful business – stick to entertainment and stay out of politics.

Even Bob Iger, Disney’s returning CEO, following the $44-million-dollar pink slip given to former CEO Bob Chapek, gets it. Charged with bringing the magic back, after Chapek cost stockholders massively, by bowing to a small sector of “woke” employees, Disney is re-evaluating and making needed changes. In a cautiously put statement, Iger has now said-

"When you tell stories, there’s a delicate balance. You’re talking to an audience, but it’s also important to listen to an audience. It's important to have respect for the people you are serving, that you are trying to reach and not have disdain from." And also…

"Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not. It can be distracting, and it can have a negative impact on the company. And to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I’m going to do that,"

Bob Iger, Disney CEO

Apparently, money talks, and Disney has seen its shares plummet, as their war on parents in Florida, touched off condemnation from Disney fans around the globe. The Disney brand must now find a way to recover their lost “family friendly entertainment place” to make a memory. This is a tall job for Iger, as he must deal with the “woke community” inside the corporation that started this whole mess.

Further, it will be hard for him to find a way, to restore confidence for generations of parents, and grand-parents whose trust Disney has broken. The only thing “Disney”, about Disney is the name – Walt would not believe what his “dream” has been allowed to become.

“Wisdom is what you gain when realizing what the consequences are.”

-Wazim Shaw
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