Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to Disney’s lawsuit against the governor and his Reedy Creek Oversight Board—the area in Florida that contains Disney World—is to claim immunity from litigation. As reported by Deadline, DeSantis filed a motion against Disney’s claim in his effort to strip to the company of control over the special district that covers its theme parks and resorts in the state.
According to attorneys for the state, “Although Disney grabbed headlines by suing the Governor, Disney—like many litigants before it who have challenged Florida’s laws—has no basis for doing so. Neither the Governor nor the Secretary [of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity] enforce any of the laws at issue, so Disney lacks standing to sue them,”
On a recent investors’ call, Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed the company’s suit, explaining “if the goal is leveling the playing field in the uniform application of the law or government oversight of special districts, [that] needs to occur or be applied to all special districts. There’s also a false narrative that we have been fighting to protect tax breaks as part of this. But in fact we are the largest taxpayer in Central Florida. We pay more taxes, specifically more real estate taxes, as a result of that special district. And we all know there was no concerted effort to do anything to dismantle what was once called Reedy Creek Special District until we spoke out [against DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQIA+] legislation. So this is plainly a matter of retaliation while the rest of the Florida special districts continue operating basically as they were.”
The CEO also recently quashed the planned Disney Imagineering move to Florida, keeping the majority of the jobs in California—a huge win for LGBTQIA+ families and allies who were understandably apprehensive about the relocation. Disney remains the largest taxpayer in Florida and currently has over 75,000 employees in the state, paid well above minimum wage.
Maybe DeSantis should stop taking notes from Pete the cat in his futile attempts to control the Walt Disney Company with his cartoony villain moves? No doubt there’ll be more to come in this ongoing story.
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