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Florida governor strips Disney of special tax district status

Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has escalated his feud with Disney
This week, DeSantis introduced a new bill which brings to an end Disney's special tax privileges which have stood for more than 50 years
The move is the latest development in a year-long battle, which was ignited by DeSantis' introduction of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law
The far-right politician is believed to harbour hopes of one day becoming US President
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The row between Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, and The Walt Disney Company has escalated, leading to Orlando's Walt Disney World losing its special tax district status.

DeSantis introduced a new bill this week, which brings to an end Disney's special privileges which have stood for more than 50 years.

The special tax status has granted the company the right to operate its own police and fire department and autonomy over zoning and other public functions.

Historically, the special tax status was seen as saving local taxpayers from large infrastructure and other costs required to operate the huge resort.

It means Disney will now be treated the same as other Orlando theme parks and will no longer be exempt from certain state regulations, including building and fire prevention codes.

By issuing the new bill, DeSantis has given himself the power to appoint the five members of the board that controls government services for the Reedy Creek district – which covers Disney’s Florida theme park properties that stretch over 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares).

The new law subjects Disney to additional layers of external oversight through the five-member board.

The move is the latest development in a year-long battle, ignited by DeSantis' introduction of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law – which soon became know as “Don’t Say Gay” bill by some of its critics.

Introduced in March 2022, the legislation bans classroom teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity – claiming to "give back control" to parents when it comes to the upbringing of their children.

Disney spoke out against the law, calling for it to be repealed.

This angered DeSantis, a right-wing politician who is believed to harbour hopes of following in the footsteps of his one-time friend and ally, Donald Trump and becoming US President.

"Today, the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end," DeSantis said at the signing ceremony of the bill, held near Walt Disney World.

Echoing rhetoric made popular by Trump, he added: "There's a new sheriff in town and accountability will be the order of the day."

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The row between Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, and The Walt Disney Company has escalated, leading to Orlando's Walt Disney World losing its special tax district status.
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