A report is circulating that there could be a resolution in the works in Florida to reverse the decision to strip Disney of its right to operate a private government that controls its theme parks, reinstating the Reedy Creek District and saving the company millions.
The decision came into play following the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” controversy after Governor Ron DeSantis passed his “Parental Rights in Education” bill that prohibits the teaching of sexually explicit subject matter to children in Kindergarten through third grade.
The Financial Times is reporting that state lawmakers are working to reverse the policy following the reinstatement of Disney CEO Bob Iger who is trying to defuse the situation after the entertainment giant found itself embroiled in culture wars due to its woke leadership. CEO Bob Chapek was fired by Disney in November.
The Florida legislature voted in April to dissolve Disney’s 55-year-old special tax district following a very public dispute between DeSantis and Chapek.
The district permits Disney to tax itself so it can cover the costs of providing water, power, roads, and fire services to the Reedy Creek Improvement District. A compromise would let Disney keep the arrangement largely in place with a few modifications.
Politicians and tax officials are warning that dissolving the district could put an enormous financial burden on Florida taxpayers and potentially transfer a $1 billion debt load to the state, according to Fox Business.
Iger has avoided criticizing the state and DeSantis over the education bill that he previously warned would “put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy” when it was introduced back in February. He has apparently changed his tune now that Disney’s financial viability is in jeopardy.
(Reuters) – Florida lawmakers are planning to reverse a move that would strip Walt Disney Co. of its right to operate a private government around its theme parks, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the plan.$DIS #ReedyCreek
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) December 2, 2022
His opposition to the education bill pressured Disney to come out against it after the company initially refused to take a stand on it. He now appears to be backpedaling after the company has taken a major hit to its reputation and to its coffers.
At a town hall meeting with employees on Monday, Iger stated that he was “sorry to see us get dragged into [the] battle” over Reedy Creek and needed time to “get up to speed” on the issue.
“What I can say [is] the state of Florida has been important to us for a long time and we have been very important to the state of Florida,” he noted. “That is something I’m extremely mindful of and will articulate if I get the chance.”
They should stick to their original plan.
— Wade Manning (@hbsfjm4hvg) December 2, 2022
Randy Fine, the Republican lawmaker who drafted the law to end Disney’s control over the 25,000-acre Reedy Creek property, asserted that Chapek’s removal from executive office has improved the chances that “something will get sorted out” over the Reedy Creek district.
“It’s easier to shift policy when you don’t have to defend the old policy,” Fine stated according to the Financial Times. “Chapek screwed up, but Bob Iger doesn’t have to own that screw-up.”
“Randy Fine, the Republican lawmaker who drafted the law to end Disney’s control over the 25,000-acre Reedy Creek property, said that Chapek’s removal from executive office last week improved the chances that “something will get sorted out” over the district.”
— L.C. (@LouisCyprien) December 2, 2022
A draft compromise bill is reportedly already being drawn up by a Republican senator according to unnamed lawmakers.
“It seems like Disney and the legislature have motivation to make a deal. Nobody wants a train wreck,” one anonymous source involved in Florida politics told the Financial Times.
DeSantis claims that Disney brought all of this on itself.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) November 30, 2022
The law stripping Disney of its special status is set to go into effect next summer.
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