DeSantis Insists Disney Will Have to Pay Its Debts, Says ‘Additional Legislative Action’ in the Works


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Disney will have to pay its own debts as the entertainment corporation claimed the state would have to foot its bills for bond taxes when its special status is revoked.

Last month, Florida’s Legislature passed a DeSantis-backed bill that rescinded Disney’s 55-year special governing status that allows it to control a vast, 25,000-acre parcel of land near Orlando that houses Walt Disney World and other facilities.

After the bill was signed by the Republican governor, the Burbank, California-based company criticized the move to strip the Reedy Creek Improvement District of special privileges. It claimed there is a clause in the decades-old original contract that says Florida would be responsible for its bond debt, which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.

But in a town hall with Fox News, DeSantis denied Disney’s claims, saying to applause that “Disney will pay its debts. Disney will, for the first time, actually live under the same laws as everybody else in Florida. Imagine that.”

DeSantis said that the dissolving of Reedy Creek won’t go into effect until June 2023, which gives Florida lawmakers time to follow up.

“The bonds will be paid by Disney,” the Republican governor added in the town hall, which aired on April 28. “They will be paying taxes, probably more taxes. They will follow the laws that every other person has to do and they will no longer have the ability to run their own government.”

Claims that Florida taxpayers will now have to pay for Reedy Creek services are “fiction,” he continued, adding that Disney is “paying money to run their operations.” He added, “They will continue paying money to run their operations, and that’ll be true if the state is in charge of a district, if it’s dissolved to the local, it doesn’t matter—that is going to continue to happen.”

Disney has faced unprecedented criticism for wading into Florida’s politics and broader social issues after it vowed to get a DeSantis-backed parental rights bill revoked after it was passed several weeks ago in the state. The company suggested that the bill, which prohibits teaching very young children about sexual orientation and gender identities, was an attack on the LGBT community, and it also repeated the Democrat-backed term “don’t say gay,” to describe the bill, despite the text of the measure not containing those words.

Parents have also expressed alarm after video footage surfaced showing Disney producers and executives saying there will be a renewed effort to make more characters gay or transgender. One top executive, Karen Burke, said that she is the mother of two “queer children” and that Disney has produced “incredible, groundbreaking LGBTQIA stories over the years.”

The Epoch Times has contacted Disney for comment.

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.



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