Disney CEO speaks out against hypocrisy with the ongoing dispute with Governor DeSantis. Do you agree with Bob Iger or Governor DeSantis?
Tension Between Florida and Disney
The past several months have been turbulent between the state of Florida and The Walt Disney Company. Florida passed the Parental Rights in Education Law in 2022.
Over the past several months, the tension between the company and the state continued to worsen as state Republicans repealed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967. Essentially, the law states that Disney is its own governing body in the two cities and land within Orange and Osceola counties.
Bob Iger stated that although The Walt Disney Company did not handle the response to the Parental Rights in Education Law in the best way, he does feel that DeSantis is punishing the Walt Disney Company for practicing free speech.
Does Disney Receive Special Treatment?
Today, during the Second Quarter Earnings Call, a caller asked Bob Iger if investors should be concerned with the conflict Disney is currently in with the state of Florida.
Iger stated that the current conflict “is about one thing and one thing only- and that is retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation.” Iger still believes that DeSantis is punishing the Walt Disney Company for practicing free speech.
Many claim that the Walt Disney Company receives special treatment and tax breaks. They claim that other businesses in Florida do not receive them. Today, Iger addresses those claims. Iger shared that there are about 2,000 special districts in the state of Florida.
These special districts were initiated to build up businesses and support growth in the state of Florida. Iger shares that the Daytona Speedway and The Villages, a permanent retirement community, are two special districts in Florida but there are many others as well.
If the concern is leveling the playing field and removing special districts then Walt Disney World would not be the only business under attack.
Does Florida Need Walt Disney World?
To address the claim that the Walt Disney Company is fighting to protect tax breaks, Iger shares that Walt Disney World is the largest taxpayer in Central Florida paying over $1.1 billion in state and local taxes in 2022.
The Walt Disney Company pays more real estate taxes as a result of their special district. Iger shares, “It’s important for us to say our primary goal has always been to be able to continue to do exactly what we have been doing there, which is investing in Florida.”
Iger addresses that even though Reedy Creek benefits Disney; Disney also greatly benefits Florida. With the plan to spend over $17 billion over the next 10 years to expand Walt Disney World and offering great benefits to Cast Members Walt Disney World is important to the state of Florida.
“It’s important for us to say our primary goal has always been to be able to continue to do exactly what we have been doing there, which is investing in Florida.”Bob Iger
Iger ends this response with a great question for the state of Florida, “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes or not?”
What do you think of this battle between the Walt Disney Company and the state of Florida? Do you think Florida needs Walt Disney World? Do you think the state of Florida should also target the 2,000 other special districts in Florida? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Conservatives used to stand for free speech, small government and pro-business policies. Times have sure changed.
I think he’s right! I think the governor is punishing Disney because they disagree with his policies.