Today Gov. Ron DeSantis made the next move in his ongoing battle against Disney World. DeSantis and Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson spoke from the Reedy Creek Administration Building in Lake Buena Vista.
The governor, who has vowed to exert control over the Magic Kingdom “come hell or high water,” announced that the Florida Legislature will “void” a Disney engineered development agreement to nullify Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ takeover attempt over the company’s properties in Central Florida, and listed a number of other measures intended to put control of more of Disney’s properties and business under state oversight.
Follow along with our live updates below.
Did DeSantis suggest a prison near Disney World?
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which governs Disney’s properties and is controlled by DeSantis, owns property next to Disney‘s resorts. The governor said these properties could be developed, noting it was suggested the state could build a new prison.
“People are like: ‘What should we do with this land?” DeSantis said, adding “People have said maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks, someone even said, like, maybe you need another state prison. Who knows? I just think that the possibilities are endless, so that is now going to be analyzed to see what would make the most sense.”
1:19 pm DeSantis pushing more legislation to punish Disney after the company nullified state authority
Seeking to have the last word in his ongoing feud with Disney and pushing back after the company appeared to outmaneuver him, Gov. Ron DeSantis traveled to the outskirts of Disney World Monday to unveil new legislation aimed at re-exerting state control over the property.
It’s the latest chapter in a remarkable saga that has helped define DeSantis’ cultural warrior image, pitting the governor against Florida’s most iconic company.
“There is a bill that will be put out in the Florida Legislature that will make sure the agreements purported to be entered into by Disney will be revoked,” DeSantis said Monday.
12:55 pm Live updates
12:17 pm Has Disney reacted to DeSantis’ vow to win over them?
Current Disney CEO Bob Iger called DeSantis’ actions “anti-business” and “anti-Florida” during the annual shareholder meeting earlier this month.
“A year ago, the company took a position on pending Florida legislation,” Iger noted according to CNBC. “And while the company may have not handled the position that it took very well, a company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do.”
Iger added that: “The governor got very angry about the position Disney took and it seems like he’s decided to retaliate against us, including the naming of a new board to oversee the property and the business. In effect, to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me.”
During the shareholders’ meeting, Iger declared the company’s love for the state of Florida, noting it was the largest taxpayer in the state and employed around 75,000 workers. The company has plans to make $17 billion in investments at Disney World over the next 10 years that will create an additional 13,000 jobs, he said.
DeSantis calls for probes: DeSantis escalates Disney feuds; CEO Iger blasts ‘anti-Florida’ tactics
Meanwhile, at the other Disney park…
11:50 am Did DeSantis get married at Disney World?
Yes, 13 years ago at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort, in what the governor recently admitted was a “kind of ironic” choice in an interview last February on SiriusXM Patriot radio.
The governor’s wife Casey DeSantis said in the interview that it was her parents’ idea since they all looked forward to visiting Disney when she was growing up in Ohio and because Disney provides all-inclusive wedding packages. “So it was I could just show up sort of thing. And it was really a lot of fun.”
— CA Bridges
11:37 am What is DeSantis’ next move against Disney?
Speaking at Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian school in Michigan that DeSantis is closely aligned withthe governor vowed he would not be faithful in his battle with Disney until he is victorious.
“Come hell or high water we’re going to make sure that that policy of Florida carries the day,” DeSantis said. “And so they can keep trying to do things, but ultimately we’re going to win on every single issue involving Disney, I can tell you that.”
DeSantis also said that Disney could be subject to new taxes and road tolls.
“The Legislature’s going to void anything Disney did on the way out the door but now that Disney has reopened this issue we’re not just going to void the development agreement they tried to do, we’re going to look at things like on taxes the hotels, we’re going to look at things like tolls on the roads, we’re going to look at things like developing some of the property that the district owns,” DeSantis said.
‘Come hell or high water’: DeSantis vows to punch back at Disney
11:16 am What is the Reedy Creek Improvement District?
the Reedy Creek Improvement District was created by state law over 50 years ago to exempt 38 miles of land Disney owns from most state and local regulations and allows Disney to collect taxes, follow its own building codes and provide emergency services for its six theme parks and resorts.
At the time it was created, neither Orange nor Osceola counties had the services to provide power and water to the remote 25,000-acre property where the Walt Disney World Co. proposed building a recreational development.
The district provides typical municipal services, such as power, water and wastewater services, roads, fire protection, emergency medical services, drainage and flood control, and solid waste and recyclable collection and disposal.
The Reedy Creek district was led by a five-member board made up of senior employees of Walt Disney Co. With DeSantis’ new change, the governing board is now led by a 5-member board essentially hand-picked by the governor.
Gov. DeSantis targets Reedy Creek. 10 things to know about the Disney-run tax district
‘There’s a new sheriff in town’: DeSantis enacts Disney punishment, appoints an oversight board on the eve of book launch
— CA Bridges
11:07 am Why are DeSantis and Disney fighting?
After former Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the governor’s Parental Rights in Education Act last year — condemned as “Don’t Say Gay,” by opponents who said the bill could discriminate against gay and transgender individuals and would cause a chilling effect against any mention of LGBTQ+ people in schools — DeSantis declared the company was “woke,” attacked it in public and called lawmakers into special sessions to pass a bill intended to give the state oversight over a special taxing district (the Reedy Creek Improvement District) that has allowed Disney to self-govern their theme park and surrounding area since the 1960s, potentially costing the company $700 million in outstanding debts.
But on Feb. 8, the day before the Florida House voted to establish the new board, Reedy Creek and Disney held a public meeting to discuss and approve a developmental agreement that moved control over a lot of what Reedy Creek used to handle under Disney for the next 30 years . The new board members appointed by DeSantis said that the agreement limits their authority over Disney.
Did Disney outmaneuver DeSantis? Why is King Charles III involved? Here’s what we know
What does it mean to be ‘woke’? And why does Florida Governor Ron DeSantis want to stop it?
Under the terms of the pacts and covenants, Disney avoids what is essentially a hostile takeover by the state and retains maximum control over development of the theme park resort’s 27,000 acres in central Florida, including future development, vesting development entitlements, confirming current and future public facilities commitments, and maintaining the protection of valuable wetlands and conservation lands within the district.
DeSantis’ new district is also prohibited from using the name “Disney” or any symbols associated with the theme park resort without the company’s permission including Mickey Mouse or any other Disney characters.
Gov. DeSantis has vowed to punch back.
— CA Bridges
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: DeSantis vs. Disney: Florida governor vows more control of land
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