The State Legislature of Florida has recently passed a bill with a staggeringly overwhelming majority this past week which will entirely strip the company Disney of its power to self-govern and allow Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to step up and appoint all give leaders of the new tax district in Orlando for Disney.
Due to Republicans holding a supermajority in the state House, the bill was able to secure a finalized vote of 82-31. Now the bill will be sent out to the state Senate, in which the Republicans also sport a supermajority, to be brought up for a vote in the next 36 hours.
The office of the Governor stated that this special tax district, which has let Disney effectively govern itself since back in 1967, morphed the massive theme park into “an unaccountable Corporate Kingdom.”
“Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency,” explained DeSantis. “These actions ensure a state-controlled district accountable to the people instead of a corporate-controlled kingdom.”
It was expressed by DeSantis’ office that the bill:
- Imposes Florida law so that Disney is no longer given preferential treatment.
- Prevents Disney from gaining more land by eminent domain.
- Creates an avenue to compel Disney to contribute to local infrastructure.
- Permanently eliminates Disney’s self-governing status.
- Imposes a state-controlled, term-limited board — with members appointed by the governor — on Disney and its property.
- Allows the state to impose taxes on Disney for possible road projects outside of the District’s boundaries.
- Ensures that Disney pays the $700+ million in unsecured debt — not Florida taxpayers.
- Provides no control of the district to the leftist local government in Orange County, which threatened to leverage the situation to raise local taxes.
Also released by the Governor’s office was a list of the powers that were previously held by Disney when it was able to govern itself:
- Acquisition of property beyond the District’s territory by condemnation and eminent domain.
- Unilateral boundary changes.
- No-bid procurements of construction contracts.
- Operating standards that varied from Florida Statute.
- Exemptions from regulatory reviews and approvals that other companies must navigate.
- Full self-governing status with a Disney-selected board.
- The ability to build airports and nuclear facilities.
DeSantis stated during one press conference held this past week that Disney “is going to pay its fair share of taxes, and Disney is going to honor the debt.”
“And that’s exactly what this proposed piece of legislation will do,” he went on. “Now, this is obviously now going to be controlled by the state of Florida, which is no longer self-governing for them. So there’s a new sheriff in town, and that’s just the way it’s gonna be.”
"Disney is no longer going to have self-government. Disney is gonna pay their fair share of taxes and honor their debts. … This is now going to be controlled by the state of Florida. There's a new sheriff in town." – Governor @RonDeSantisFL 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/53o8iP5GrJ
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) February 8, 2023