As most of us know, the Governor of Florida revoked Disney World’s special development district, to punish the company for pushing back on homophobic state laws.
Apparently, the Gov is concerned that, if the counties take over the functions that Disney’s development district performed, the counties might no punish Disney enough, so he has floated a proposal to have those functions placed with the state government, rather than the counties.
My understanding (and I might be an idiot) is the district expenses are all paid and financed by Disney. When the district is moved to the government those expenses all move to the county (or perhaps the state will step in) - and this means substantial increases in property taxes and reduced expenses for Disney. So I’m guessing Disney is not that unhappy with the situation or we might have heard more from them. However, the local taxpayers are certainly not happy. Disney was paying for Fire, Police, sanitation, water and everything else you can imagine a municipality would deal with. All of that now falls to local taxpayers.
Since 1967, Disney has received tax and regulation exemptions for an area known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The exemption in effect allows Disney to govern itself on Disney World grounds, including having its own fire department and board of supervisors, as well as its ability to oversee land and environmental regulations.
Past estimates have suggested that Disney saves tens of millions a year in regulations, taxes and fees because of the privileges…
The special development district, and the freedom it gave Disney, was an incentive that Disney wanted, to build Disney World. The Gov has now taken that freedom away, as punishment for Disney being “woke”. I would speculate that the Gov is concerned that the local counties, being dependent on Disney for a ton of revenue each year, might be “too tolerant of Disney’s woke attitude”, so he is taking the authority for himself, so he can punish Disney more, for not toeing his “anti-woke” line.
The “new and improved” state-mandated tax increases on the county taxpayers have yet to be seen. Those increases will not be small.
The timing of this failure by the state is about perfect. With global warming, Disney is no longer tied to Florida. Want to speculate about what will happen when Disney starts planning new attractions at a location (in the US) not in Florida?
As noted elsewhere in the thread, the special district was something that Disney wanted as an incentive to sweeten the deal. Hence a ‘sweetheart deal’. If it weren’t beneficial to Disney they would have tried to end it decades ago.
I would argue it wasn’t to “sweeten” the deal. It was part and parcel of the plan without which the complex would not have been built. Disney built Anaheim without control of its own destiny and vowed not to do it again. In addition to the time and approval savings, the ability to control the land surrounding has turned Disneyland into an island of fantasy surrounded by garish billboards, cheap motels and fast foot joints, and not in control of the security they believe they need for such an enterprise.
At the time it was built, of course, they didn’t have the power to demand such (heck, they could barely afford to finance it until ABC stepped in), but once the concept was proven Walt insisted he would not make the same mistake twice.
While it is true that any company would like to control its own destiny to the extent Disney World does, they have proven responsible administrators, probably superior to what the vagaries of local municipal boards could provide.
It wasn’t an “incentive” either, it was “a condition”. It was pass/fail, which is different. The history of Disney is interesting, there are several books about it, and one of the most important chapters in the corporations mid-life was the jump from “small theme park” to mega-park. Without the self governance it wasn’t going to happen.
It’s not that different. Similar to the incentives given to automakers to locate a new factory in your state. If the incentive isn’t given, they will locate the new factory in a different state. Also pass/fail.
An “incentive” is generally monetary in some form (it might be building additional infrastructure: highways, etc. but it always boils down to money.) Disney’s demand for self-rule was not a monetary demand nor could it be fulfilled in any way that that.
This is one of those cases where words matter. An “incentive” is not the same as “a demand” or “a condition of agreement.”
The point is Disney was paying all of the bills in the district. It was not the government which is being insinuated. There were no tax incentives. Of course Disney governed it well. It was Disney’s pocketbook no matter what.
Calling it a sweetheart deal is watching tucker too much.