A Texas judge last week invited Disney to relocate Walt Disney World Resort from Florida to Texas.
The move comes as Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and other conservatives in the state spar with Disney over legislation meant to protect public school children from lessons that are not age-appropriate. The legislation, which Disney has criticized, prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation between kindergarten and third grade.
On Friday, DeSantis signed another bill essentially repealing the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act — which effectively allows Disney to act like a quasi-governmental body within Disney World.
DeSantis’ stance has drawn the ire of Fort Bend County, Texas, Judge KP George, who wrote a letter Thursday to Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek inviting the company “to consider Fort Bend County as a welcoming and diverse place to do business.”
“While you, your company, employees and diverse fans face authoritarian, anti-business and culture war attacks from extremists in Florida, we in Fort Bend are more ready to welcome the Disney family with thousands of good-paying jobs and billions of dollars of investments,” the Thursday letter added.
George went on to call his county a “unique place” whose “residents and families compose the most diverse county in the United States, deliver extremely high graduation rates and are one of the top capita purchasers in Texas.”
The county is also “strategically located for the most efficient distribution of goods domestically and internationally, including the best access to both inland and water ports in Texas,” he said.
The judge wasn’t done.
“With a strong focus on economic development, we encourage small and large business growth through a business-friendly climate; we make a difference in our children’s lives everyday through youth empowerment initiatives and aim to continue improving the quality of life through new, fresh and innovative ideas,” George wrote.
From Timone & Pumba to Tinker Bell, Disney characters are as diverse as Fort Bend County families. I welcome @Disney to visit Fort Bend County as your next destination while you face attacks from the modern day political extremists like @RonDeSantisFL. pic.twitter.com/UMtvN4Cudj
— County Judge KP George (@JudgeKPGeorge) April 21, 2022
“I invite you to visit Fort Bend County and see for yourself why our community is the best place for a new Walt Disney World Resort.”
But DeSantis, for his part, has defended his stance.
“This company had a deal unlike any company or individual in all of the state of Florida, probably anywhere in the United States,” he told Fox News host Tucker Carlson last week, according to National Review.
“They were self-governing, they had extraordinary powers, they could build nuclear power plants, they didn’t have to go through permitting processes and obviously a lot of tax benefits. And that’s just inappropriate.”