Many conservatives have been selected by Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, to head the special tax and governance area once overseen by Disney.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District was founded by Florida politicians for Disney in 1967, saving the firm tens of millions of dollars annually in taxes and fees. Monday’s legislation approved by Governor DeSantis created the Central Florida Tourist Oversight District, a new administrative territory under state supervision.
Bridget Ziegler is a conservative member of the Sarasota School Board and the wife of Christian Ziegler, who was recently elected chairman of the Florida Republican Party. According to a story from Fox Business, Bridget Ziegler co-founded Mothers for Liberty. This activist organization trains conservatives to run for school boards to empower those who aspire to speak up for parental rights at all levels of government. The group also works with Gays Against Groomers.
Given that DeSantis tried to take Disney off its special privileges last year after the business openly opposed a parental rights bill that prohibits kindergarten through third-grade students from learning about sexual orientation and gender identity, the selection is especially remarkable. 64% of Americans, including 62% of Democrats and 57% of independents, backed the measure, according to an exclusive survey conducted by The Daily Wire.
The other conservatives appointed by DeSantis include Martin Garcia, an attorney, and businessman; Ron Peri, a former pastor and aviation technology executive; Brian Aungst Jr., an attorney and former judicial nominating commission member; and Michael Sasso, an election law attorney, and Valencia State College trustee.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District revamp and the nomination of conservative leaders comes only weeks after DeSantis selected many conservatives to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees to cleanse the public liberal arts college of controversial views. Some of the nominees include Christopher Rufo, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a strong opponent of critical race theory, and Matthew Spalding, a constitutional government professor at Hillsdale College.
The Florida House approved the measure dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District by a vote of 82-31 and the Florida Senate by 26-9; both houses had substantial Republican majorities following the state’s midterm elections. DeSantis said allowing a business to operate as its own government is a terrible policy, especially when the corporation makes choices that affect a whole area. This act terminates Disney’s self-governance, subjects Disney to the same rules as everyone else, and guarantees that Disney pays its obligations and a fair share of taxes.
Walt Disney’s chief executive officer, Bob Iger, recently complained that the company lost unique regulatory and tax protections and promised to listen more closely to consumers. Iger, a seasoned executive, stated in the released video that he was unhappy to see Disney pulled into that battle, and he has no clue what its repercussions are for the industry as a whole. Iger went on to say that the state of Florida has been extremely significant to Disney for a very long time and that they have been very important to the state of Florida.
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