Ron DeSantis punishes Disney in GOP brawl with business

“How is that not blackmail?” said Scott Randolph, the Orange County tax collector. “Why would a company want to invest in Florida when ...


“How is that not blackmail?” said Scott Randolph, the Orange County tax collector. “Why would a company want to invest in Florida when all the rules can change in 72 hours? To me, this sends a chilling message about the business environment in Florida.

Randy Fine, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill to end Disney’s special self-governance privileges, said under the arrangement the company had the right to seize private property, build a nuclear power plant and ignoring zoning rules and safety codes. The real issue for Disney, he said, was “control — it’s not really about the money.”

As it became increasingly clear this week that the measure would be signed into law, some Floridians expressed growing concerns about the tax implications, although it is not yet certain what these might ultimately be. .

While the new law ostensibly takes away big benefits from Disney, like issuing its own building permits, Democrats warn it leaves Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties to hold the bag for some $163 million in annual taxes. Others, including Mr Randolph, have warned that local property owners could see major property tax hikes.

Disney had paid itself taxes, using the money to pay for things like police and firefighters. Now, Orange County says it will have to bear the costs of municipal theme park services that Disney had paid for through Reedy Creek, the special tax district that the legislature eliminated.

“Obviously there is political retaliation at play here,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings told reporters. “We’re trying to figure out what the legislator is trying to do in this case, but I think they haven’t sufficiently considered the ramifications of what they’ve proposed at this point.”

Mr DeSantis, for his part, insisted that Disney would “pay more taxes” and said that “we have thought of everything”.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Ron DeSantis punishes Disney in GOP brawl with business
Ron DeSantis punishes Disney in GOP brawl with business
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