'Come hell or high water': DeSantis vows 'win' in spat with Disney, threatening tolls and taxes
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he’s looking into taxing Disney World’s hotels, imposing tolls on its roads and developing its property as the latest escalation in the battle between the Florida Republican and the corporate giant.
"They are not superior to the people of Florida," DeSantis said during an event at Hillsdale College in Michigan. "So come hell or high water, we're going to make sure that that policy of Florida carries the day."
DeSantis and Disney have repeatedly exchanged blows over the course of the last year. After the entertainment giant publicly opposed Florida legislation aiming to limit discussions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, DeSantis moved to strip Disney of its special self-governing status.
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In February, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill to replace a company-controlled board that governs Disney World with one run by DeSantis appointees. But ahead of the vote, the original board passed a series of agreements that allowed Disney to keep much of its power, regardless of the controlling body.
According to Politico, Disney "tried to pull a fast one on the way out the door," DeSantis said earlier Thursday. "That story’s not over yet. Buckle up. There’s more coming down the pike."
On Monday, DeSantis asked his chief inspector general to open an investigation into the agreements the boards passed. Part of that probe would look into whether any laws were broken.
In response, Disney CEO Bob Iger at a shareholder meeting called DeSantis’ moves "anti-business" and "anti-Florida."
Disney "tried to say that they should be able to operate outside the context of our constitutional system in Florida," DeSantis said Thursday. "Ultimately, we're going to win on every single issue involving Disney, I can tell you that."
Disney World did not immediately respond to a request for comment.