Sen. Rick Scott to Newsmax: Florida Must Protect Taxpayers, Not Disney

Sen. Rick Scott to Newsmax: Florida Must Protect Taxpayers, Not Disney (Newsmax/"Spicer & Co.")

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 27 April 2022 07:55 PM

A looming battle over the dissolution of special tax privileges for the Disney-controlled areas of Florida might stand to put a debt and tax burden on taxpayers, but Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., told Newsmax that Floridians should not bear the cost.

"It's very important that Tallahassee make sure that's not the case – that they're not putting additional burdens on the county taxpayers there," Scott told Wednesday's "Spicer & Co."

"We've got to make government more accountable, to do everything we can to make it smaller, not bigger, so we've got to make sure the taxpayers in Osceola County do not get hurt by this."

State law requires that by default, the county assumes a district's debt along with all of its assets when it is dissolved, meaning upward of $1 billion in bond debt could be unloaded to neighboring Florida counties.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law last week to terminate the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which has allowed the Walt Disney Co. to self-govern the land that houses its Orlando-area theme parks, hotels, and resorts.

Republicans voted to do so in response to Disney officials' opposition to the state's new education law, which many say discriminates against the LGBTQ community.

"Here's what doesn't make sense; I don't understand: Disney is a company that relies on customers," Scott told co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith. "Why would they want to go out and take a bill that is common sense – we shouldn't be teaching anything about sex in grade school in this country – why would they take a simple bill and they say there's some problem with it and make so many of their customers mad."

Ultimately, Disney's financial hit will be heavier by losing angry customers than it will having to pay taxes on the level of other major corporations in the state, Scott added.

"We'll see what having getting rid of their special tax privileges does to them, but what I think is going to be a bigger deal to them is they're going to lose Disney-plus customers; they're going to lose people that want to come to their parks," Scott said.

"I love going to Disney and took my daughters and now we have grandchildren. We would love going to Disney, but you know, I don't want them teaching my kids something I don't believe in – or my grandkids something I don't believe in.

"There's a lot of parents like that. That's where they're going to get hurt."

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