Disney cancels $1bn Florida theme park extension amid war with DeSantis

The Walt Disney Company has halted construction of a $1 billion office complex in Orlando after Disney executives warned billions of dollars in projects were at stake after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ended his feud with the company escalated.

The development planned for construction in the Orlando area should bring 2,000 jobs to the area, with an expected relocation of 1,000 employees from Southern California.

In a May 18 email to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney’s Theme Parks and Consumer Products, referred to “changed business terms” for the cancellation of the 60-acre Lake Nona Town Center project The New York Timeswho first reported on the move.

“I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business,” he added, noting that the company still has $17 billion worth of projects at Disney World over the next decade campus has planned. “I hope we can do that,” he said.

For years, Florida legislatures and the Office of the Governor have enjoyed a close relationship with the state’s largest taxpayers, which are among the state’s largest employers, exerting tremendous political influence and bringing in billions of dollars to the state each year.

Now the company and DeSantis allies are suing each other after a year-long dispute over opposition to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents, culminated in political and legal wrangling. which could affect the company’s business in the year state.

Shortly after the board appointed by Mr. DeSantis voted to wrest control of its Florida park from the company, Disney filed a federal lawsuit against the governor and state officials alleging a “targeted retaliatory campaign by the government” for ” Expressing a political point of view”.

The lawsuit follows the governor’s state takeover of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, now the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which is made up of conservative activists and DeSantis loyalists. Don’t Say Gay Law.

Days later, the board decided to sue Disney in state court.

In March, Disney slammed the governor’s “anti-business” approach to the company, which Mr. DeSantis has accused of pushing a “woke agenda” while his administration slapped LGBT+ people and their families with sweeping legislation controlling public school education, access to health care etc. targets speech.

The governor dissolved a decades-old borough that allowed Disney to control its own land use, zoning codes, and public services without imposing a tax burden on Florida residents. In fact, Disney taxed itself to foot the county’s bill for its community needs.

“Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, doesn’t it?” Disney CEO Bob Iger said on a conference call with analysts last week.

A statement from Disney said the company had decided to withdraw from construction of the new campus “given the significant changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions.”

The Parental Rights in Education Act – dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents – bans teaching about “sexual orientation or gender identity” from kindergarten through third grade and any such discussion “that is not age or corresponds to the development”. “suitable for students” in other grades. The governor recently amended the law to expressly extend such restrictions to all grades.

Critics have warned that the broad law threatens to freeze classroom talk about LGBT+ people and issues, from civil rights history classes to discussions about LGBT+ students, school staff and their families.

Following the passage of the Florida Act, lawmakers across the United States and in Congress have passed similar legislation, including more than two dozen measures in the current legislative session.

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing russellfalcon@ustimespost.com.

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