Vicky Arias, FISM News
Florida lawmakers on Monday published a draft of legislation that would replace Disney’s special self-governing tax district status with a senate-approved board and give the district a new name.
The bill is expected to pass the Republican supermajority in the Florida legislature and be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
According to the Daily Wire, the new law, if passed, “permanently eliminates Disney’s self-governing status … provides no control of the district to the leftist local government in Orange County, which threatened to … raise local taxes … [and] imposes Florida law so that Disney is no longer given preferential treatment.”
At present, Disney resides in its own tax district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), and possesses self-autonomy to “act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.”
The special district comprises nearly 40 square miles in and around Disney World, “servicing 24 landowners, including [the] Walt Disney Company” and is run by a five-member supervisory board of elected landowners, which may include “private corporations,” within the RCID.
After Disney inserted themselves into Florida political discussions, the Florida state legislature proposed replacing the district’s current board with a governor-appointed board that the Florida Senate would have to approve. Additionally, the district would be renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
A recent statement from DeSantis’ office likened Disney’s special district to a “kingdom” rather than a “state-controlled district” and explained that the new legislation would reign in its unchecked power.
“Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency,” the statement said. “These actions ensure a state-controlled district accountable to the people instead of a corporate-controlled kingdom.”
While some predict Disney may sue the state of Florida over the legislation, the president of Walt Disney World Resort, Jeff Vahle, said the company is keeping a close eye on the situation.
“We are monitoring the progression of the draft legislation, which is complex given the long history of the Reedy Creek Improvement District,” Vahle said. “Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world and, regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year.”
The Walt Disney Company and DeSantis clashed in 2022 when DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill banning classroom instruction of sexual orientation and gender in kindergarten through third grade.
In March 2022, Disney issued a statement condemning the protective bill and vowed to help undo it.
The bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” Disney said. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
According to the New York Post, DeSantis “blasted Disney’s hypocrisy in pushing domestic social-justice causes while pursuing business in China, a regime notorious for human-rights abuses.”
Disney has been accused of using its platform to cater to a radical liberal agenda, including Critical Race Theory and open transgenderism in its programming for children.
Most recently, the company’s reboot of the cartoon, “The Proud Family,” showed characters chanting that “slaves built this country, the descendants of slaves continue to build it … and we, the descendants of slaves in this country have earned reparations for their suffering and continue to earn reparations every moment we spend submerged in a systemic prejudice, racism, and white supremacy that America was founded with and still not atoned for.”
Additionally, Latoya Raveneau, an executive producer for Disney admitted last year to having a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” for children’s programming, saying that “no one would stop me and no one was trying to stop me.”