Charlie Crist TV ad calls Collateral Ron DeSantis-Disney battle a ‘DeSanTAX’


Whoops. Spoiler alert.

That’s the punchline of a new TV ad from the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Representative. charlie christ enters the Orlando market. He attacks the governor. Ron DeSantis legislative culture war battle with the Walt Disney Company. The ad blames the Governor’s ire at Disney for driving tax increases in Orange and Osceola counties or possibly the entire state.

The 30-second ad, “DeSanTAX” is a response to last week’s special session effort to push and sign SB 4C. He was slow to abolish the Walt Disney World Special District Government in June 2023 in response to Disney’s perceived disloyalty to DeSantis’ political agenda.

the Reedy Creek Improvement District holds $79 million in unpaid utility revenue and repayment obligations and $766 million in bonds backed by property tax. If Reedy Creek is abolished, as requested by SB 4C, another government entity will have to assume responsibility for these debts.

Orange and Osceola counties could be in line to do so. Ad Crist quotes Orange County tax collector Scott Randolph saying it could mean a 15-20% property tax increase in his county.

Crist’s new commercial debuts Thursday, in central Florida. The campaign said it was spending in “half of five figures” in the Orlando market.

The spot quickly skims through the “DeSantis vs. Disney” stories and Randolph’s assessment, then turns to Crist. He begins with his frequent criticism of the Governor: claiming that all he really wants is to run for president.

“And he whips his base by attacking Disney. He doesn’t care if Disney brings thousands of tourists to Florida or his bill is costing taxpayers millions,” Crist says in the ad.

“Ron, if you want to run for president, do it,” Crist concluded. “But don’t make us pay your DeSanTAX.”

The political dispute between the governor and the company was over HB 1557, which was titled the “Parental Rights in Education” Act, requiring that at least very young school children be uninformed about the concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity. Democrats fought the bill fiercely, calling it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, saying its broader interpretation would shut down discussion of LGBTQ issues at all levels. Disney criticized the bill.

DeSantis did not deny that SB 4C, abolishing Disney’s Special Government District in Florida, is political retaliation for Disney’s position.

“We consider this a provocation,” he said during a virtual press conference Last week. “And we will fight against that.”

DeSantis cleared SB 4C from introduction to signing in four days.

There is the possibility that the State of Florida may absorb the debt before it can dissolve Reedy Creek, according to the Miami Herald. In a Reedy Creek improvement neighborhood board of directors thursdaysupervisors said they didn’t know what might happen.

At an event Monday, the governor assured a cheering crowd that Disney bond debt would not be dumped on taxpayers.

“Under no circumstances will Disney be able to fail to pay its debts, we will make sure of that,” DeSantis said.

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