On April 22, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will officially dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District on June 1, 2023. The signing was the latest shot fired in the battle that has been going on between the state of Florida and The Walt Disney Company. The problems began back in March when Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. Governor DeSantis supported the bill and signed it into law, and Chapek said that he would work to see it repealed.
As Disney continued to denounce the Parental Rights bill, DeSantis and his fellow Florida Republicans quickly put together a bill that would strip Walt Disney World of its rights to function as its own government. The Reedy Creek Improvement Act was put in place in 1967, so Disney would not have to go to the state to get things done during the construction of Walt Disney World. Since then, Disney has paid a lot of taxes in the state of Florida and has been able to get done what it wanted to, when it wanted to.
With the dissolution of Reedy Creek, Disney would be required to go to the state for permit approval on all of its projects. In turn, Florida taxpayers would be responsible for paying for things that Disney needs, like police presence and medical personnel. They would also be responsible for outstanding debts incurred by Reedy Creek. Since DeSantis signed the bill dissolving Reedy Creek, many have spoken out against him, calling his actions “shortsighted” and retaliatory. DeSantis, in turn, says that he has the support of a majority of Floridians. However, a new poll shows that he does not have the support of a majority of Americans.
Reuters — a news company — and Ipsos — a marketing research company — recently conducted a poll, which found that 62% of Americans do not support DeSantis’ actions. Those polled said that they are LESS likely to support a candidate who “supports the idea of punishing a company over differing political stances.” Of the 62% of Americans who felt that way, 68% were Democrats and 55% were Republicans.
36% of Republicans polled also said that they felt less likely to support a candidate who believes in removing tax benefits that have been in place for companies that have more liberal views than their party. The poll interested many, as DeSantis is largely considered the main 2024 Republican Party nominee for President, but that will also be largely dependent on if Donald Trump decides to run again.
When asked about the poll by Newsweek, a DeSantis spokesperson made the following statement:
“Governor DeSantis has always said that he does not pay attention to polls. He strives to do what’s best for our state, whether or not it is the most popular option on any given poll. As it happens though, child protection and parental rights are very popular concepts with the support of the majority of Floridians, across party lines. Regardless of any corporation’s opposition to these values, Governor DeSantis will always stand for parents and kids.”
Newsweek also reached out to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, but did not receive a comment before the article was published.
Do you think Reedy Creek should be stripped of its rights?