On Thursday, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that would strip the Disney Corporation of its self-governing ability in the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which serves as the location for Disney World.
The Reedy Creek district was established in the 1960s and allows Disney to provide services such as firefighting, power, water, and roads within the area that they control. Disney in turn gets relief from taxes and fees.
The stripping of these benefits from Disney will have significant consequences on the company’s bottom line as the various tax benefits they have received for decades will be stripped.
This comes after Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly spoken out against Disney as the company expressed its opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law that was passed early this month.
The bill sought to prohibit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity within kindergarten through third-grade classrooms “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Additionally, Disney said last month that they would end all political donations to lawmakers after continued pressure regarding the Parental Rights in Education law.
The bill passed the Florida Senate on Wednesday with a vote of 23 to 16 and now that the bill has been passed by both chambers of the Florida Legislature, it will go to the governor’s desk where he is expected to sign it.
DeSantis said last month that “What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful, and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power.”
“I think what has happened is there’s a lot of these special privileges that are not justifiable, but because Disney had held so much sway, they were able to sustain a lot of special treatment over the years.”
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As Disney begins to wade into political waters, the Florida state government is just one consequence of their political posturing. Disney’s stock price has been hammered over the past year with it falling 31% in the past 12 months.
Amongst the 30 companies that comprise the Dow, Disney has seen its stock drop the most on a percentage basis. Disney stock price was down 5% on Wednesday as investors remain unsure about the company’s financial future.
With Disney beginning to speak out on political matters, the consequences may force them to change direction, but only time will tell if they choose to double down or give in.