Florida and Disney standoff could lead to loss of privileges for Disney

On Wednesday, Florida’s Senate approved of a bill that would remove Walt Disney Company’s special tax district. This move by the Senate will also receive a favorable vote by the House as Florida is a predominantly Republican ruled state. Disney, including its CEO and many employees, have been at loggerheads with the Sunshine State after its governor Ron DeSantis passed the HB 1157 commonly referred to as “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, despite protests from the largest employer in the state.

The standoff between Disney and the Florida legislature has continued. On Tuesday, Republican governor, a strong conservative governor, announced that lawmakers in the state would consider terminating all special districts that were announced in Florida prior to 1968 and the Reedy Creek Improvement District was one among them.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was created in 1967. It is a semi-private district that has independence in governance. Disney’s Orlando Theme Park is under this district. It gets several privileges including autonomy under local police and fire departments. It saves millions of dollars in taxes, fees and exemptions, according to a person familiar with the matter, who mentioned it to The Wall Street Journal. It maintains public services including roads and bridges.

The legislation received a 23-16 vote in its favor. All special districts will be eliminated in June 2023, according to the legislation. The WSJ also reported that although six such districts would be eliminated, only Disney was likely to face problems.

Disney World is the largest employer in the state of Florida. Although it has been accused of promoting “woke” ideology by the Republican governor of the state, Disney employees have held protests, earlier saying that the company was not doing enough for the LGBTQ+ community.

Democratic Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis is ready to welcome Disney’s Theme Park to relocate from swampy Florida to its mountainous state. The governor has given an open invitation to Disney, Twitter and other private companies who are facing issues from the Republicans, to relocate to his state, on Wednesday.

Neither Disney, nor Twitter have responded to his invitation, as yet. Disney has not commented on the new legislation passed by the Senate, as of now.

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