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DeSantis Challenges Disney: Florida Theme Park Development Battle

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is intensifying his battle with Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) as he seeks to nullify an agreement that Disney passed to limit the power of a board appointed by DeSantis to oversee its Florida theme park property.

Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor

DeSantis Defends Florida Policy Against Disney

Speaking at Hillsdale College in Michigan, DeSantis stated that the Florida legislature would void changes made by Disney shortly before it lost control of the board, emphasizing that Florida's policy would prevail regardless of Disney's actions.

Exploring Taxes and Property Development

DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, mentioned potential measures such as taxes on hotels, tolls on roads, and developing property owned by the district to challenge Disney's influence.

Disney's Response to DeSantis' Remarks

Disney has not yet commented on DeSantis' remarks, but earlier in the week, CEO Bob Iger criticized DeSantis' actions as "anti-business." Disney had opposed Florida's Parental Rights in Education Act, which restricts classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.

DeSantis Gains Control Over Special District Board

In February, Florida lawmakers passed a bill granting DeSantis effective control over a board responsible for overseeing municipal services and development within the special district, including the Walt Disney World resort.

Disney's Attempt to Limit Board's Power

Before DeSantis's appointees took over, Disney changed the special tax district agreement to restrict the board's actions for decades. DeSantis criticized Disney for attempting to operate outside of Florida's constitutional system.