When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to strip Walt Disney World of special government status, officials in other parts of the country urged the company to build theme parks in different states. .
DeSantis signed legislation Friday to officially dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District on June 1, 2023, though legal challenges could still stifle the plan. The Republican governor proposed the bill days earlier, escalating a culture war battle that began when the company criticized the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which limits classes on the Orientation and Gender Identity in Florida Schools.
Shortly after the bill was proposed, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, urged Disney to move to his state while accusing DeSantis of “socialist attacks” on the company. He also urged Twitter to move to the state after DeSantis threatened the company to block Elon Musk’s hostile takeover bid, despite the social media giant currently being based in California.
“Florida’s authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector are scaring away corporations. At CO, we don’t meddle in the affairs of corporations like @Disney or @Twitter,” Polis said. tweeted tuesday. “Hey @Disney, we’re ready for Mountain Disneyland and @twitter, we’re ready for Twitter HQ2, whoever owns you.”
“We will grant Mickey and Minnie full asylum in Colorado,” Polis added in another Tweeter.
Fort Bend County, Texas Judge KP George urged Disney CEO Bob Chapek to open “a new Walt Disney World” in a open letter who described DeSantis as an “extremist” on Thursday. George touted his county as “strategically located” and “the most diverse county in the United States.”
“As you, your company, your employees and various fans face authoritarian, anti-corporate and culture war attacks from extremists in Florida, we at Fort Bend are more than ready to welcome the family. Disney with thousands of high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in investments,” George wrote.
“I invite you to visit Fort Bend County and see for yourself why our community is the best place for a new Walt Disney World,” he added.
While George and Fort Bend are eager to welcome Disney, it’s unclear what reception the company might receive from Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has drawn criticism for his stance on LGBTQ rights while portraying himself as an advocate. conservative social issues.
The Reedy Creek District currently allows Disney to effectively manage its own government on the land where Walt Disney World is located, including security, fire protection, utilities, and planning services. Disney also has the ability to impose taxes on the land and run its services with the revenue it derives from those taxes.
Democratic critics of DeSantis have slammed the governor for his retaliation against one of the state’s biggest employers and earners. The governor himself appeared to confirm the effort was politically motivated in a recent fundraising pitch, according to CBS News.
DeSantis wrote to potential donors on Wednesday that “Disney and other woke corporations will no longer get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns” and pledged to hold “the Democratic machine and their lapdogs accountable.”
Opponents of disbanding the district, which was created in 1967, have warned that revoking Disney’s self-government status could force taxpayers in Orange and Osceola counties to pay a $2 billion debt .
Criticism of the move hasn’t been limited to Democrats, with Jenna Ellis, a former lawyer for ex-President Donald Trump, tweeting recently that DeSantis was “over the line” for deciding to punish the company in a political dispute.
On Friday, Ellis said Newsweek that she expected Disney to “sue and win” against the new law, arguing that it was “illegal and unconstitutional.”
Newsweek has contacted The Walt Disney Company for comment.