Florida GOP quietly backtracks on one of Ron DeSantis' biggest initiatives
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Photo via Saul Loeb for AFP)

On Friday, Carl Quintanilla of CNBC News reported that Florida Republicans are quietly planning to reverse a key decision touted by Gov. Ron DeSantis designed to retaliate against the Walt Disney Corporation for criticizing one of his signature anti-LGBTQ laws.

Specifically, they are planning to reverse their previous move abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement Act — a decades-old provision that allowed Disney to build Walt Disney World in the swamps outside Orlando and set up their own local government taxing district to administer the area.

This comes just weeks after DeSantis, who touted his war against Disney politically during the election campaign, was re-elected decisively — but before the repeal of the taxing district could actually take effect.

DeSantis and Republicans in the legislature abolished Disney's self-governing status to great fanfare earlier this year, in response to the corporation's public criticism of the so-called "Don't Say Gay" law.

Republicans claimed the measure was aimed at preventing sexual topics from being discussed with elementary schoolers, but experts and teachers warned it was written so broadly it can be used to effectively ban any gay teacher from mentioning their spouse in class or any transgender teacher from using their preferred pronouns.

Those fears, so far, appear to have been justified, as several LGBTQ teachers around Florida have resigned or been fired after acknowledging their identity in class.

It became clear even during passage of the measure to repeal the district, which would take effect in June of next year, that lawmakers hadn't thought through the consequences. Officials in Reedy Creek have stated that the repeal violates state law, as the debt issued for the project hasn't been paid off. Tax experts have even warned that if the repeal takes effect, property taxes would have to increase throughout much of the Orlando area to pay off the outstanding bonds.

DeSantis' press secretary Christina Pushaw denied any tax increases would occur, although she did not give any legal assurance, simply saying that a plan to prevent that happening would be released later.