Disney sends a powerful message to Ron DeSantis and CFTOD with new report highlighting Disney's immense value to the state of Florida

20 days ago in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday November 14, 2023 12:05pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World Resort generated $40 billion in economic impact across the state and more than a quarter of a million total jobs in fiscal year 2022, according to a new study from Oxford Economics announced today.

The new report comes at a time when Disney is locked in multiple lawsuits with the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and his Central Florida Tourism Oversight District which replaced Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District as the governing body in which Walt Disney World resides. Disney claims in its lawsuit filed in a federal court that there has been "A targeted campaign of government retaliation-orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney's protected speech-now threatens Disney's business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights."

According to today's report, Disney generated in 2022:

  • $40.3 billion in total statewide economic impact.

  • 263,000 direct and indirect jobs – 1 out of every 32 jobs in the state.

    This figure includes Disney's workforce of 82,000 across the state. Within Central Florida, Disney directly supports 12%, or 1-in-8, of all jobs. For every direct job on-site at Disney, an additional 1.7 jobs are supported across Florida. Without Disney's statewide job impact, Florida's unemployment would jump from 3% to 5.4%, which would take Florida from the 21st lowest unemployment rate among all 50 states to the second highest unemployment rate in the country. Disney revenues and off-site visitor spending contributed to $12.1 billion in total labor income in fiscal year 2022.

  • $6.6 billion in tax revenue, including $3.1 billion in annual state and local tax revenue generated by Disney, visitors, employees and third-party businesses – helping to fund local schools, law enforcement, public safety, parks, roadways and more throughout Central Florida.

  • 2,500 Florida-based small businesses contracted to supply products and services to Disney World.
    Part of the more than 8,500 small businesses across the country contracted by The Walt Disney Company.

The study, which was commissioned by Disney, also reflects the economic impact of Disney Signature Experiences in Florida, including Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line.

Disney points out that the results are for fiscal year 2022, prior to the Reedy Creek Improvement District becoming the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District with the appointment of a new Ron DeSantis board.

This week also marks the 58th anniversary since the now-famous press conference in Orlando where Walt and Roy Disney announced their "Florida Project" alongside then-Florida Governor Haydon Burns.

"Disney is an economic catalyst to the state of Florida, generating billions in economic activity, either directly or indirectly through its supply chain and the spending of employees," said Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics. "Disney is also vital to the funding of public services, as it generated taxes of $6.6 billion in 2022, including state and local taxes of $3.1 billion."

"I am incredibly proud of how Disney has created meaningful change and benefitted people's lives in Florida for generations, not just in establishing our area's theme park industry, but also in how we have worked with other sectors across the state to do the same," said Jeff Vahle, President, Walt Disney World Resort. "The numbers speak for themselves on why Disney is so important to fueling jobs, the economy and tourism throughout our region, and the future investments we're looking to make will continue to provide even more opportunities for Floridians."

In fiscal year 2022, Disney paid and collected a combined $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to Orange and Osceola Counties and the state of Florida, as well as to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The Florida State Legislature established this special district, formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, in 1967 to help provide services, including power, water, roads and fire protection for the 47-square miles of Walt Disney World Resort.

Throughout its history, this district was a cost-effective mechanism in ensuring the tax burden for these services did not fall on Orange and Osceola County residents. It allowed Disney to efficiently invest tens of billions of dollars in Florida over the past several decades by maintaining the highest development and service standards on Disney property.

To quantify the economic impact of Disney in Florida, Oxford Economics prepared a comprehensive model using multiple primary and secondary data sources to quantify the impacts arising from multiple channels of spending attributable to Disney. Impact modeling was based on an IMPLAN Input-Output (I-O) model for the State of Florida, and the results of this study show the scope of Disney's impact in terms of revenue and operational spending, as well as total economic impacts, including total business sales, employment, household income, and fiscal (tax) impacts.

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Stripes1 hour ago

If this was an objective report, they would’ve spent most of the ink detailing how uniquely terrible and anti-American the current governance structure is. Instead, they babble on about how the new structure has brought accountability to the district. Oh yeah? Accountability to whom? “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” -Thomas Jefferson There is no consent from the governed here, Mr. Jefferson.

Bullseye19672 hours ago

You are a rock star!!!!! Thank you for all the gems you find!

mikejs785 hours ago

There's an exemption in the IRS code for companies giving their employees a benefit that involves a company's own product and essentially results in no additional cost for the company. An example given by the IRS is airlines giving free airline tickets to employees on non-full flights - the "excess capacity" exemption. So Disney themselves are likely ok.

Figgy16 hours ago

What a lot of people, looking at you the organization formerly known as RC, is that what was/is considered taxable has changed over the past 60 years. What may need to be counted as income since the last overhaul may not have before then.

Brian6 hours ago

RCID would have been responsible for withholding the tax, just the same as they would for other fringe benefits. This amount would also be included as part of the employee's W-2 statement. I don't believe that their public sector status would have any bearing on its taxability.

mikejs787 hours ago

So I looked at the exhibit which the board packet claimed that Disney administered the payroll and that it was once paid for by Disney. There is no supporting documentary evidence for this in the relevant exhibit (2-B). The exhibit claims that Disney ran payroll until 1998, and that it was free until then. This is supposedly based on interviews with "Employee 1" and "Employee 2". All of the documentary evidence is from 2018-2021.

mkt7 hours ago

Good news. Florida doesn't have an income tax, and DeSantis's voice has no power at the IRS.

DCBaker7 hours ago

There are individual links for each exhibit on the CFTOD website - you can find them all at this link.

flynnibus7 hours ago

The portion i am referring to is in the board packet. But dcbaker linked to the website with all the exhibits as well

flynnibus7 hours ago

It’s a complicated topic that includes specific details about the employer… the benefit… etc. it’s very hard to generalize or compare across situations. Best handled by the accountants

mikejs787 hours ago

I read it. Where are the exhibits?

maxairmike7 hours ago

That’s what gets me. This feels like something that is either so commonplace that the rules aren’t clear enough/there’s no desire to enforce outside of digging for dirt, or there’s some serious misrepresentation happening by the CFTOD and/or their hired guns.

mkt8 hours ago

There may be some regulatory exceptions to the rule, but I'm far too tired and have stopped caring enough to bother looking up specifics. In my case, I was given Detroit tigers tickets and NAIAS tickets from work and they appeared as "income" on my next paystub with taxes withheld. However, my employee discount on a car purchase - whose value was far higher than the tickets - was not considered taxable income.

Stripes8 hours ago

I receive regular tickets to local MLB games. It is not considered a taxable benefit. I work for a very, very large company.