Disney’s decision to cancel its $1.3 billion Lake Nona Town Center project has sparked a public spat with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The company was expected to move nearly 2,000 jobs from Southern California to Orlando, but it cited “changing business conditions” for its decision to pull the plug on the project. In response, the governor’s office slammed Disney, stating that the company had only announced the possibility of the development two years ago and that the state was unsure whether it would ever come to fruition.
Anyone who thinks DeSantis will be hurt politically by Disney not transferring 2,000 employees from CA to FL needs to read the room.
Disney is deeply unpopular with Republican voters.
Also, as an FYI: Not a single Floridian wants more people moving to the state. pic.twitter.com/Qjx1tysGm9
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) May 18, 2023
The feud comes after Governor DeSantis stripped Disney of its control over a special tax district that had been created in the 1960s and that gave Disney certain benefits not enjoyed by other companies in the state. According to reports, Disney has already laid off 4,000 employees and has plans to lay off thousands more due to its financial difficulties.
The company is suing the state of Florida, claiming that it is the victim of “a targeted campaign of government retaliation”. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger has also hinted at the possibility of retaliating against the state by withholding development plans there, asking, “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?”
Despite the controversy, Disney still plans to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World and create 13,000 jobs over the next decade, according to D’Amaro.