Ron DeSantis Signed A Bill Revoking Disney’s ‘Private Government’ And Things Are About To Get Messy In Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made good on Republican threats to retaliate against The Walt Disney Company for opposing the state’s recently-passed “Don’t Say Gay” law. On Friday, DeSantis signed a bill that revokes a 55-year-old statue that allows Disney to essentially operate as its own private government in certain districts. State Republicans had threatened the action in late March, and it appears that DeSantis has followed through with it despite warnings that it could have serious tax implications. Specifically, leaving Florida residents on the hook for a $1 billion “debt bomb” to cover the taxes that Disney will no longer collect on itself.


Reedy Creek has bond liabilities of between $1 billion and $1.7 billion, according to the district’s financial filings. Under Florida statute, if Reedy Creek is dissolved, those liabilities are transferred to the local governments — either Bay Lake or Lake Buena Vista, or more likely, Orange and Osceola counties.

State Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, tried to amend the bill to include further study of the bond debt, but the amendment failed on a voice vote.

In a nutshell, legislators and tax experts have warned that if Republicans eliminate the special government provision, they’ll basically be shooting the state in the foot. Clearly, the state GOP doesn’t care. In addition to the massive tax implications, legal experts have been weighing in that the state may have handed Disney lawyers a First Amendment case on a silver platter.

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez added to that theory during a recent appearance on Newsmax where she openly admitted that if Disney gives up its “woke agenda,” the state would allow the entertainment giant to keep its private government status. This sparked numerous reactions on social media that the state just openly confessed to “extortion.”

So… yeah. This is all going to get weird and ugly. Which it already is. But, like, more weird and ugly.

(Via Associated Press, CNBC)