During today’s Q2 2023 earnings call for The Walt Disney Company, CEO Bob Iger took a moment to reflect on the current drama unfolding in Florida with the state’s government and the pending lawsuit the company filed.
During the call, Iger reiterated the company’s position on the pending litigation against Gov. DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board. He rebuffed rumors that it was about preserving the original Reedy Creek Improvement District, or even that they desired an even playing field with the state. The grounds of the case all lie in the retaliation for speaking up as protected by the First Amendment.
Quite a bit of time was spent talking about special districts in Florida as well. There are around 2000 special districts in the state, and most were established to foster development. Reedy Creek in particular made it easy to do business in Florida and helped contribute to over 75,000 jobs. Indeed it’s easy to say the district benefited Disney but misleading to not talk about how Disney benefited Florida, per Iger.
Of DeSantis’ latest spars, he said that if the goal was an even playing field with the state, then similar rules should apply in districts which cover areas like The Villages and Daytona Beach. It’s also false that Disney’s main goal is to protect tax breaks since they paid more than $1.1 billion last year in Florida taxes.
Finally, he expressed shock that Disney even has to defend their rights with the state. There’s massive potential for investment in Florida, and he says the state should welcome Disney’s investment while the company operates responsibility and pays its fair share.
Iger announced at this same earnings call that they are closely evaluating each theme park for expansion opportunities.
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