DeSantis Business Wars: Disney, Covid, Taxes, ESG

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Leadership Summit at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, April 21, 2023.

Anna Cash Cow | Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to kick off his presidential campaign on Wednesday night, testing his combination of pro-business conservatism and culture war populism across the country.

DeSantis, 44, to announce bid for Republican presidential nomination on Twitter Elon Musk Scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET.The announcement would cement DeSantis’ status as the former president’s top Republican rival donald trumphe has always maintained a leading edge in the main field.

Even before DeSantis pushed for a quick end to the coronavirus lockdown in the name of revitalizing Florida’s ailing businesses, he was trying to establish himself as a champion of economic growth.He has since credited the state’s low unemployment, population growth and economic Exceed national average.

At the same time, he was embroiled in political battles with some of the state’s top employers — most notably disney – and signed legislation targeting private business practices, some of which have been blockade inside the court.

DeSantis apparently sees no contradiction between his pro-business stance and his tough governance. “Corporation is not the same as free enterprise,” he said in a statement. speech Last September, “I think too many Republicans think that limited government basically means that what’s best for American business is the economy that we want to do.”

But some experts are skeptical that the governor is walking a tightrope.

“The Disney case in a way captures this nervousness about DeSantis as a candidate,” said David Primo, a professor of political science and business administration at the University of Rochester. “He’s trying to do something.” There’s this hydra-like element.”

A spokesman for DeSantis’ campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Rise of DeSantis

DeSantis himself has little business experience. A lawyer who graduated from Yale and Harvard, he joined the U.S. Navy Judge Attorney General Corps and served in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq. He worked as a lawyer after retiring from the military in 2010 and was elected to Congress in 2012. Once there, he quickly established himself as a member of the far-right Tea Party movement.

DeSantis lead sponsor of 52 bills in Congress, none of which became law, Spectrum News ReportOne of them is the “Drain the Swamp Act,” which aims to implement Trump’s campaign mantra by tightening the lobbying ban on departing officials.

A founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, DeSantis has also introduced legislation that would cut payroll taxes for retirement-age Americans, and he supports another bill Replace most federal taxes with a state sales tax. critic said such proposals, which resurfaced in Congress this year, would burden low- and middle-income Americans.

DeSantis resigned from Congress to run for governor in 2018, narrowly beating his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum with Trump’s backing. That same year, DeSantis’ desire for higher office was evident among his supporters, Politico Report.

“He looks like a mainstream Republican — pro-business, very conservative on social and economic issues,” said J. Edwin Benton, a professor of political science at the University of South Florida.

“Suddenly, he had the ambition to be president. To do that, he knew he had to carve out a niche for himself.”

Covid breakthrough

DeSantis came into the national spotlight during the coronavirus pandemic in September 2020 when he lifted All Florida social distancing restrictions for restaurants, bars and other businesses.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gives an update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic during a news conference at the Turkey Lake Service Plaza on the Florida Turnpike in Orlando, Friday, July 10, 2020 .

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

He also gained more power for himself.By May of the following year, DeSantis lifted the all Local Covid restrictions.Six months later, Governor prohibit Private employers are exempt from mandatory vaccination mandates.

In the process, DeSantis argued his actions were designed to protect the freedom of Florida businesses.

“No one should lose their job because of tough COVID mandates, and we have a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida,” he said in a November 2021 news release.

DeSantis’ stance clashed with public health experts at the time and drew harsh criticism, especially after Florida broke records wave Covid cases and deaths in 2021.But while the state has the third-highest number of Covid deaths in the country, its death rate per 100,000 people is lower than states with stricter lockdown rules like New York and New Jersey, according to The New York Times data.

DeSantis claims victorymaking his response to Covid a key part of what he now calls his “Florida Blueprint” for economic success.

company culture

ESG is risk and opportunity for long-term investors, says Si2's Heidi Welsh on cost of culture wars

Even during the pandemic, DeSantis and his allies have set their sights on other polarizing social issues plaguing Florida businesses.

In 2020, he quietly sign Controversial legislation requires some private companies to use electronic verification systems to check employees’ immigration status. He strengthened those rules earlier this month, sign the contract A bill requiring any employer with 25 or more employees to E-Verify.

In 2021, DeSantis signed a law allowing Florida to punish large social media companies such as Facebook And Twitter, banning political candidates. The legislation comes months after these companies and others kicked Trump off their platforms following the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol.Federal Court of Appeals has since ruling Social media laws are unconstitutional.

In the most recent legislative session, DeSantis signed a bill banning the automatic deduction of union dues from public employees’ wages.Florida Educational Association defendant DeSantis punished them for opposing his policies, and critics were quick to point out that the bill doesn’t apply to unions representing first responders. Police and firefighters unions are backing DeSantis’ re-election bid.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has criticized environmentally sensitive investments but has failed to protect his constituents from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, which may have been exacerbated by global warming.

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

desantis also start a war against social consciousness ESG Investment Strategies, in his latest book, denounces this trend as an “attempt to impose the ideology of the ruling class on society through public companies and asset management”.

ESG is a broad concept that generally refers to investment strategies that prioritize environmental, social and governance factors and has become a major investment strategy. Target For conservatives seeking to root out the progressive influence of corporate culture.

DeSantis signed a bill in early May that prohibits state and local officials from making ESG-based investment decisions.This is just his latest work action For ESG.

The ESG initiative embodies the governor’s arguments against corporate influence and favoritism — themes he will re-use in his ongoing battle with Disney.

disney legend

Costumes promoting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sit on tables ahead of the book tour at North Charleston Coliseum on April 19, 2023 in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Sean Rayford | Getty Images

The fight centers on legislation that bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 classrooms. Critics also noted that the bill’s vague language could apply to older students, nicknamed it “Don’t Talk Gay.”

Among those critics is current Disney CEO Bob Iger, who did not lead the company when he took the job tweets In February 2022, the bill “would put vulnerable young LGBTQ people at risk.” Disney’s then-CEO Bob Chapek comes out as gay be opposed to The bill came less than two weeks later and announced donations to pro-LGBTQ rights groups. After the bill was signed, Disney vowed to help repeal the law.

DeSantis and his allies quickly took aim at Disney’s special tax district, an arrangement that has allowed the company to effectively govern its Orlando-area parks since the 1960s. In April 2022, DeSantis signed a bill to to dissolve The governing body, formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The move has raised concerns that neighboring counties will struggle with the region’s spending and debt. In February, the Florida legislature held a special session and introduced a bill that would keep the district intact but change the name — and have DeSantis hand-pick its five board of supervisors members.

Disney v. DeSantis: Why Florida governor takes on US media giants

The next month, members of the governor’s board accused Disney of thwarting their power over the district by sneaking through an 11-hour development deal. Disney said it followed the correct process in drafting the deals and was pursuing them to protect its investments in Florida amid political uncertainty.

The board of directors voted to cancel those development contracts.Iger, who returned as Disney CEO last November, noted in a recent interview Earnings Conference Call Other Florida corporations also operate in the District.

Disney is suing the state of Florida, alleging that DeSantis orchestrated a “targeted government retaliation campaign” that now threatens the company’s business. The company said in its federal civil suit that the law was “designed to target Disney and Disney alone.” The board has countersued in state court.

The fight shows no signs of stopping and is coming back into the spotlight with every new business update from Disney, such as the company’s recent announcements retirement plan Create an employee campus in Florida.

Primo, a political science professor, told CNBC that the ESG and Disney fight “reflects the way DeSantis appeals to a populist base while keeping the overall thrust of Florida policy very business-friendly.”

Primo said he was “counting on being able to do both.”

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