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Governor suggests toll roads to Disney, tax on hotels

Actresses portraying Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, the Beast, Belle, and Cinderella at Disneyland in California (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis now is suggesting tolls on roads leading to Disney’s amusement park in his state, and taxes on hotels there.

The Daily Mail reports the suggestions are the latest comments in what has developed into a long-running battle between DeSantis and the entertainment company since it blasted the governor for his political agenda to protect children in schools from inappropriate sex ideologies and content.

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“Come hell or high water, we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day. And so, they can keep trying to do things. But ultimately, we’re going to win on every single issue involving Disney, I can tell you that,” DeSantis said during a speech this week.

“They are not superior to the people of Florida,” he warned.

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Taxes and tolls would hit at tourists visiting the Disney operations, making a visit there even pricier than it already is. One blogger estimated that a family’s “high-end” visit there already could cost $9,300.

Further, CBS reported Disney plans layoffs of about 7,000 employees in several waves, because of its plans for “cost-saving measures.”

That report explained, “The past few years have been tough on the House of Mouse. Disney lost billions of dollars in the early years of the pandemic, when it had to close amusement parks and halt in-person productions of movies and TV shows. The parks reopened in April 2021, helping to recoup some of those losses as Disney raised admission prices for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood studios.”

Even its new streaming ventures have been in the red, the report said.

Will DeSantis win the war against Disney?

The Daily Mail noted that the theme park is now charging for some features that used to be free, and its “iconic Mickey Mouse ears”‘ now run $40.

DeSantis also noted the GOP, which controls his state’s legislature, could undo Disney’s agreements with the oversight board it controlled before authority switched to a board he appointed.

“One of the deals that Disney cut gave it control over its development for the next 30 years,” the report said. “But officials in the DeSantis administration told Politico that the agreement runs afoul of the state’s growth laws. One of the laws says that development agreements must be modified or revoked to comply with laws even if the law is passed after the deal was executed.”

Because of Disney’s attacks on the state for its efforts to protect young children, the lawmakers there canceled a longstanding special district that allowed Disney essentially to act as its own government.

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But Disney, at the last second before a new board took over, reached all sorts of deals that purportedly gave the special district’s powers back to Disney itself.

DeSantis already has called for an investigation into those actions, whether they comply with state law or not.

WND reported that DeSantis suspects there could be “serious legal infirmities, improper delegation of authority, ethical violations,” and “conflicts of interest and self-dealing” in Disney’s deals.

The state already had called on Disney for “texts, emails, and other public records regarding ‘documents discussing an intention or goal of circumventing, avoiding, frustrating, mitigating, or otherwise attempting to avoid the effects of anticipated actions of the Florida Governor and Legislature.'”

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