Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that prohibits schools in the Sunshine State from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. The controversial legislation was later dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill. However, DeSantis is coming after more than just schools.
Disney is one of Florida's staple companies that has come under fire for its stance on the Don't Sat Gay bill. The company has criticized the bill and pledged $5 million to NGOs that work to protect LGTBQ+ rights.
Disney theme parks are one of Florida's main attractions, pulling millions of visitors to Florida each year.
The Reedy Creek Improvement Act
Disney's special tax status was enacted in 1967.
The Orange and Osceola counties couldn't provide services or resources to create a recreation-oriented development across 25,000 acres, so Disney stepped in and helped develop this remote area of Central Florida. In that effort, the Florida government joined forces with Disney to establish the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This special taxing district allowed Disney to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.
The expensive retaliation
Gov. DeSantis staged a full-scale attack on Disney last week.
Florida government is fighting tooth and nail to revoke Disney's special status in the state in retaliation to disagreement over the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
Disney spokesperson told the shareholders that Florida needs to settle its debts to dissolve the Reedy Creek Act.
"Florida will not limit or alter the rights of the District...until all such bonds together with interest thereon...are fully met and discharged... In light of the State of Florida’s pledge to the District’s bondholders, Reedy Creek expects to explore its options while continuing its present operations, including levying and collecting its ad valorem taxes and collecting its utility revenues, paying debt service on its ad valorem tax bonds and utility revenue bonds, complying with its bond covenants and operating and maintaining its properties," shared Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board in a public statement last week.
Florida may need to pay a $1 billion bond debt to Disney if they decide to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement Act.
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