UNITED STATES. Florida: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis intensified his fight against Walt Disney Co., seeking to overturn a deal Disney made to restrict the authority of a board DeSantis formed to manage its Florida theme park business.
In a speech he gave Thursday at Hillsdale College in Michigan, the governor said that changes made by Disney right before it lost control of the board would be thrown out by the legislature.
“They are not superior to the people of Florida. And so, come hell or high water, we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis, who is widely regarded as a potential presidential candidate in 2024, continued, “We’re going to look at things like taxes on hotels, we’re going to look at things like tolls on the roads, and we’re going to look at things like developing some of the property that the district owns.”
Disney didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on the governor’s statements. But earlier that week, Disney CEO Bob Iger hit out at DeSantis, calling his apparent retaliation against the company for endorsing legislation “anti-business.”
Disney opposes Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, which is referred to by opponents as a “Don’t Say Gay” bill because it forbids teachers from discussing students’ gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom.
A statute passed by Florida lawmakers in February gave the governor effective control over a board that monitors public development and services in a special district that includes the Walt Disney World resort.
However, Disney pushed through adjustments to the special tax district agreement before the takeover by DeSantis’s appointees, which have severely restricted the board’s ability to act for decades.
“What Disney has tried to do is they have tried to say that they should be able to operate outside the context of our constitutional system in Florida,” DeSantis, the governor, said on Thursday.
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