Disney CEO Bob Iger: DeSantis’ Retaliation Is Not About Special Privileges, Does The State Want Us To Invest More or Not?

    In an earnings call this afternoon, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke out about the ongoing battle between Walt Disney World and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He notes that the DeSantis battle is “plainly a matter of retaliation”. He also spoke about how DeSantis targeted the Reedy Creek Improvement District and not the nearly 2,000 special districts in the state of Florida. Here’s what Iger had to say (based on captions of the live call):

    Regarding Florida I have got a few things I want to say about that. First of all I think the case that we filed last month made our position and the facts very clear and that is really that this is about one thing and one thing only and that is retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation. And we believe that in us taking that position we are merely exercising our right to free speech.

    Also this is not about special privileges or a level playing field or Disney in any way using its leverage around the state of Florida. But since there’s been a lot said about special districts and the arrangement that we have I want to set the record straight on that too. There are about 2000 special districts in Florida. Most are established to foster investor development – we were one of them. They basically made it easier for us and others, by the way, to do business in Florida and we built the business that employs as we said before, over 75,000 people, and attracts tens of millions of people to the state. So while it is easy to say that the Reedy Creek special district that was established for us over 50 years ago benefited us, it is misleading to not also consider how much Disney benefited the state of Florida.

    And we are also not the only company operating a special district. I mentioned 2000 [special districts] – the Daytona Speedway, it has one. So do The Villages which is a permanent retirement community and there are countless others. So the goal here is, if the goal is leveling the playing field in the uniform application of the law or government oversight of special districts needs to occur or be applied to all special districts.

    There’s also a false narrative that we have been fighting to protect tax breaks as part of this. But in fact we are the largest taxpayer in Central Florida paying over $1.1 billion in state and local taxes last year alone. We pay more taxes specifically more real estate taxes as a result of that special district.

    And we all know there was no concerted effort to do anything to dismantle what was once called Reedy Creek special district until we spoke out in the legislation. So this is plainly a matter of retaliation while the rest of the Florida special districts continue operating basically as they were.

    I think it’s also important for us to say our primary goal has always been to be able to continue to do exactly what we have been doing there, which is investing in Florida. We are proud of the tourism industry that we created and we want to continue delivering the best possible experience for guests going forward. We never wanted and we certainly never expected to be in the position of having to defend our business interests in federal court, particularly having such a terrific relationship with the state as we have had for more than 50 years.

    And as I mentioned on our shareholder call we have a huge opportunity to continue to invest in Florida. I noted that our plans are to invest $17 billion over the next 10 years, which is what the state should want us to do. We operate responsibly. We pay our fair share of taxes. We employ thousands of people and by the way we pay them above the minimum wage – substantially above the minimum wage dictated by the state of Florida. We also provide them with great benefits and free education so I’m gonna finish what is obviously kind of a long answer by asking one question. Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes or not?
    Disney CEO Bob Iger

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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    1. Thank you Mr. Iger for calling Ron desantis out on all the lies he’s been spreading around the around the country. It takes a grown man to spank a bratty little ron boy . Your truth means so much , keep speaking it. We see the targeted injustice leveled against our beloved Mouse House.

    2. Yeah, Desantis is an egotistical jerk throwing a hissy fit. And he wants to run for president! 🤣

    3. Time to get rid off arrogant, stubborn and light headed person not qualified for politics, forget about presidency, even can’t re-elected , any way this is his last term, thank GOD. We will happily after.

    4. Governor De Santis should meet one on one with Disney’s Iger and settle these disputes once and for all

      • He doesn’t want to settle. He wants his supporters to see him as a tough guy. Worst of all, the citizens of Florida are funding his crusade against their best interests.

    5. DeSantis is a blight on the Florida landscape. Disney has never taken from Florida but added to the financial well-being. This dictator like mentality from DeSantis office and the rubber stamping by the legislature has caused great concern especially with national aspirations on DeSantis outlook. Florida is being set back decades with this Facist like playbook. DeSantis is as bad and possibly worse than Trump if possible.

    6. Bring Disney to Texas. When they don’t want your business and appreciate what you do for a state, it is time to move. Everyone I talk to here, want Disney to come to Texas.

    7. Tons and tons of republican adore DeSantis. Litterally a better Trump for them.

      What a crazy, messed up country we live in… My euro roots sweat when I see what Trump, DeSantis, etc say and do. Hitler wannabe’s.

    8. Publicize the planned future property projects and upgrades that are now under pro/con review due to the idiotic politics. Push the conversation on possibly building a new attraction in GA or the Carolinas and NOT in FL. Show the economic impacts of scenarios being considered. Money talks!!

    9. Reedy Creek was grated because because Disney was building a functioning city from the ground up. They built a amusement park ( regardless of quality). Disney Did NOT deliver on there end. No need for Reedy Creek any longer.

    10. Does DeSantis secretly wish he was the CEO of Disney instead of his boring job as Florida’s Governor? In his screwed up head, is he trying to accomplish a “corporate takeover?”

    11. Desantis is one of the worst humans currently on this planet. Dude is 13 year old in a grown man’s body. The so called “free state of Florida” is very restricted

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