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DeSantis’s latest plan for revenge on Disney for humiliating him? Toll roads.

Ron DeSantis, Disney, Florida, district
Gov. Ron DeSantisPhoto: Shutterstock

“That story’s not over yet,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Thursday morning of his ongoing battle with Disney. “Buckle up. There’s more coming down the pike.”

Later in the day, during an appearance at Hillsdale College in Michigan, DeSantis revealed his next move. The governor said that his administration is looking at taxing Disney’s hotels and imposing tolls on roads that serve the entertainment company’s theme parks, according to Politico.

“They are not superior to the people of Florida,” DeSantis said. “So come hell or high water we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day. And so they can keep trying to do things. But ultimately we’re going to win on every single issue involving Disney I can tell you that.”

DeSantis’s comments come a week after the governor’s hand-picked Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board discovered that it had been outmaneuvered by the entertainment giant.

Last month, DeSantis signed a bill ending The Walt Disney Company’s decades-old special zoning agreement, stripping the company of its control over the 39-square mile Reedy Creek Improvement District surrounding Walt Disney World, a move widely seen as retaliation for Disney’s opposition to DeSantis’s anti-LGBTQ+ “Don’t Say Gay” law. DeSantis renamed the district and appointed five allies to its board. But the previous board struck a last-minute agreement with Disney that allows the company to maintain much of its autonomy and renders the new board largely powerless.

Earlier this week, DeSantis sent a letter to Florida’s Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel, accusing Disney of attempting “to usurp the authority of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board” and demanding “a thorough review and investigation.”

“These collusive and self-dealing arrangements aim to nullify the recently passed legislation, undercut Florida’s legislative process, and defy the will of Floridians,” he wrote.

The DeSantis administration is reportedly examining whether Disney’s agreement with the previous Reedy Creek Improvement District board violates Florida’s growth laws. As Politico notes, one of those laws explicitly states that development agreements must be modified or revoked to comply with laws even if the law is passed after the agreement was executed. DeSantis said that Florida’s legislature is prepared to void Disney’s agreement with the previous board.

In a statement released last week, Disney said that “all agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida Government in the Sunshine law.” The DeSantis administration failed to notice what was going on until the new board began its tenure last week.

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