Disney Will Bear the Cost of Tax Status Change: National Tax Expert Julio Gonzalez

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.
and Stefania Cox
Stefania Cox
Stefania Cox
April 30, 2022 Updated: April 30, 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday that Disney would pay more taxes as he signed a bill into law dissolving Disney World’s special status, but some say it’s the state’s residents who bear the brunt of the changes to Disney’s tax status.

National tax expert and founder of Engineered Tax Services Inc. Julio Gonzalez said that DeSantis will work to ensure Florida taxpayers don’t assume any increased tax burdens due to Disney.

“I know the media says that, that there’s no chance that even Governor DeSantis said that if there’s any raise in taxes, it would go to Disney Corporation and not the U.S. citizens,” Gonzalez told NTD Evening News host Stefania Cox in a recent interview. “There’s no question about that, have to pay several million dollars more in taxes. A big cost to them because of their pandering and politics.”

Gonzalez is referring to the fact that Disney, like other big corporations, has gotten involved in political debate, instead of showing neutrality for the sake of all of their patrons.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek criticized a Florida bill (HB1557) that he says takes away the rights of transgender and gay people but supporters of the bill say it gives parents more say in their child’s education and prohibits teachers from instructing young children (K-3) on sexual orientation and gender.

He said the tax increases would have to be assumed by Disney, but that the other scenario is that the amusement park would negotiate another deal with Florida’s government to remedy the current situation.

The company then said it would work to try to rescind the parental rights bill, which drew condemnation from DeSantis and other Republicans.

“I truly believe we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ+ community,” Chapek said in a statement in reference to the law several weeks ago. “I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on—and I will be an outspoken champion for the protection, visibility, and opportunity you deserve.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Disney for further comment.

In response to Disney getting political, DeSantis signed a bill that revoked Disney’s 55-year special status within the state that provides the corporation a significant tax break while allowing it to self-govern a 25,000-acre area near Orlando.

One of the state’s U.S. senators, Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told Fox Business over the past weekend, “In a company that is relying on a special tax status, that doesn’t make any sense.”

“I don’t understand why Disney would be doing what it’s doing. I’m a business guy. You would not go engage in social issues like this if you want to keep all your customers, but I’d say the same thing about Coke and Delta when they lied about the election security laws in Georgia,” Scott continued.

Epoch Times Photo
About 150 people attend a rally to oppose The Walt Disney Company’s stance against a recently passed Florida law that prohibits schools from teaching their youngest students about sexual orientation and gender identity, outside of Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, Calif., on April 6, 2022. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

Gonzalez said DeSantis won’t be deterred from standing up for parental rights, and ultimately getting political will cost Disney revenue.

“Disney, like Major League Baseball, entered in politics, and it ended up costing the CEOs 31 percent of their stock value, now millions of dollars more in cost. Bad news, and I’m sure this will be correct behind closed doors.”

In addition, DeSantis made reference on April 22 to Disney’s pledge to have HB1557 repealed.

“I was very clear about saying, ‘You ain’t influencing me. I’m standing strong right here,’” he said. “Incredibly, they say, ‘We are going to work to repeal parents’ rights in Florida.’

While DeSantis’s critics say this will cost him politically, supporters say protecting parental rights will work out in his favor and possibly give other governors the courage to stand up to big corporations.

“I think it’ll play out well for Governor DeSantis, and hopefully other states will realize that no corporation is worth these tax incentives when it costs the people of the state.”

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.

Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.
Stefania Cox