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Disney vs. Florida: Disney Poised to Lose “Special Privileges” Allowing Autonomy

Disney vs. Florida: Disney Poised to Lose “Special Privileges” Allowing Autonomy
Spmartin15/Wikimedia Commons

In the ongoing battle between Disney and the State of Florida over the right of parents to protect their children from being sexualized in the classroom, Florida State Representative Randy Fine just launched a major salvo. The Republican legislator’s bill to remove special privileges allowing the Walt Disney Company to rule itself semi-autonomously in the State of Florida has passed and only awaits the signature of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, which is near certain.

Singed into law in 1967 in response to lobbying efforts by Disney, the Reedy Creek Improvement Act essentially allows Disney self-rule. As Fox Business reported:

The entertainment giant proposed building a recreation-oriented development on 25,000 acres of property in a remote area of Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties, which consisted of 38.5 square miles of largely uninhabited pasture and swamp land.

Orange and Osceola County did not have the services or resources needed to bring the project to life, so the state legislature worked with Disney to establish the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special taxing district that allows the company to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.

The district covers Disney’s four Florida theme parks, two water parks and one sports complex, 175 lane miles of roadway, 67 miles of waterway, the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, an environmental science laboratory, an electric power-generating and distribution facility, a natural gas distribution system, water and wastewater collection and treatment facilities, a solid waste and recyclables collection & transfer system and over 40,000 hotel rooms and hundreds of restaurants and retail stores.

As a result of the 1967 law, the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) — which is nearly-synonymous with Disney — “has the ability to levy taxes, write building codes, develop and maintain its own infrastructure and build whatever it wants, including an airport or nuclear power plant,” according to Fox Business.

And besides the logistical autonomy, the arrangement has been extremely lucrative for Disney. As Fox Business reports:

The RCID receives income from taxes and fees imposed within its boundaries. For 2022, the RCID has an operating budget of more than $169 million, with roughly $164 million of that total coming from ad valorem taxes.

For 55 years, Disney has operated in Florida as an independent entity, making its own rules and raking in piles of money in the form of taxes. One might expect Disney to appreciate the comfortable and generous arrangement and keep a low profile where its relationship with the state of Florida is concerned. But of late, Disney — like many other “woke” companies — has attempted to use its stature to bully Florida in the political sphere.

As a result of…

Read Full Story At: The New American

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