Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) have been locked in a battle for over a year now. A new report sheds further light on how the Mouse House is continuing to pay for its decision to stand up against the state government.
The local governing board set up by DeSantis to administer the special governing district where the Florida Walt Disney World operates suggested this week that it is planning millions of dollars worth of spending cuts, Politico reported.
The board is eyeing cutting $8 million of the district’s annual spending meant for law enforcement provided exclusively to Disney’s properties, chair of the board Martin Garcia said at a public meeting, according to the report.
Disney denounced the implementation of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that DeSantis signed in to Florida law.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it doesn’t make any sense to anybody on our team that’s looked at it,” said Garcia reportedly. He pointed out that Disney wasn’t the only taxpayer in the district.
Before the clampdown by DeSantis and Florida, the previous board, which went by the name “Reedy Creek Improvement District” was mostly overseen by board members representing Disney’s interests.
The entertainment giant could therefore run its own government in the district and enjoyed advantages such as implementing plans without having to go through the zoning commissions and building inspection departments.
All these changed when the company voiced opposition against the “Don’t say gay” law passed by Florida, which prevented the discussion of sexual orientation and gender in classes from kindergarten to grade 3.
Since then, DeSantis has been following retaliatory tactics, some of which included setting up a state prison on bordering land, raising taxes, and exploring the sale of state-owned utilities.
Disney took on the governor’s attack by bringing up a lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District. of Florida
“If Disney’s contracts are void, nearly all of Disney’s claims in the federal case disappear,” the district said in a court filing.
This dismissal of the district case would allow Disney to focus on the federal case against DeSantis. The company claims that the Florida governor violated the company’s first amendment right in the freedom of speech.
Disney wants a federal court order to prevent state laws that are enacted to target them.
Produced in association with Benzinga