Disney says Florida can’t revoke theme park tax status 2022-04-28 06:18:00


The row between Ron DeSantis and Florida’s largest private employer now revolves around whether the state can dissolve the special tax region that legally governs Walt Disney World, such as The governor and local lawmakers did last week.

The brawl began after DeSantis last month signed a controversial bill that would prevent schools from teaching children in kindergarten through third grade matters related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially tried to walk away from the heated public debate over the procedure, mocked by critics As the law “Don’t say like me”. But as pressure builds from within the company to oppose the measure, it is finally He came out publicly against this action At his company’s annual shareholder meeting in March.

The Republican governor responded by seeking to denigrate Disney as “wake up,” and moved to end the special status that allows the resort to operate effectively as its own municipal government on the 39-square-mile property, called the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The company issued its only public statement since the Republican governor and lawmakers directed their anger at Disney, and this week the company expressed confidence to investors that the state could not legally invalidate its 55-year arrangement as long as Reddy Creek’s debts were not paid. .

As a result, the company indicated that trying to dissolve the special tax district in Orange and Ossola counties would breach the agreement Florida made when it created the county in 1967.

Disney, published on the Municipal Securities Board’s website on April 21, said: “In light of Florida’s pledge to its county bondholders, Reddy Creek expects to explore its options while continuing with its existing operations, including imposing and collecting its ad value tax bonds and bonds. utility revenue, compliance with its bond obligations and the operation and maintenance of its property.”

Florida is contractually obligated not to get involved in the boycott until the bond debt is paid off, Jacob Schumer, a municipal attorney in Maitland, Florida, the law firm of Shepherd, Smith, Colmaire and Hand, told CBS MoneyWatch.

“The task of dissolving a special district and dividing its responsibilities between two provinces is an enormous one,” he said.

Reporter says Disney World’s tax situation may not be in danger


Disney did not respond to a request for comment. It employs about 80,000 people at the resort, which includes several theme parks, hotels, and its own bus fleet.

The political uproar will likely continue, with DeSantis signaling he’s willing to pressure a fight with Disney.

“The governor’s team is working to manage this legislation designed to level the playing field for business in Florida. When we have more to share our way forward, we’ll be happy to send it with you. As the governor has consistently stated, Florida residents won’t have to shoulder the burden of Disney,” a spokesperson said. CBS MoneyWatch in an email.