Disney to Invest Nearly $864M for New Florida Campus, State Could Give Over $570M Tax Break

The Walt Disney Co. is going to build a new regional campus in Florida, a project they've invested as much as $864 million in and could give them $570 million in tax breaks, the Associated Press reported.

The new campus promised to employ at least 2,000 professional employees who will be relocating from Southern California to work in digital technology, finance and product development.

The $570 million tax break would be one of the largest in Florida history for a single company, according to the documents obtained through a public records request by the Orlando Sentinel from the state's Department of Economic Opportunity.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Disney's New Regional Campus in Florida
Disney has invested as much as $864 million for the project that they promised would employ 2,000 people. Here, Mickey Mouse rides in a parade through Main Street, USA with Cinderella's castle in the background at Disney World's Magic Kingdom on November 11, 2001, in Orlando, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The company already has a theme park resort in central Florida that is the size of the city of San Francisco.

Disney is eligible for the money under the state's Capital Investment Tax Credit program, for which it was approved in February 2020, Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, told the Orlando Sentinel.

In a statement to the Sentinel, Disney said the company was utilizing the incentive program offered by the state and "making a sizable investment in this community where we have a long-standing presence and commitment."

But Greg LeRoy, executive director of a nonpartisan research center on incentives, Good Jobs First, called the incentives "worse than a zero-sum game."

"We call this interstate job fraud," LeRoy said. "At the end of the day, you've also got less revenue available for public services."

Under Florida's Capital Investment Tax Credit program, companies can reduce their corporate income tax by receiving an annual credit based on eligible capital costs from certain projects. Those costs include acquisition, construction, installation and equipping the project.

The state has dangled hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to other companies in recent years.

Universal Orlando is in line for nearly $350 million in state tax breaks to build a new headquarters for a division that designs its theme parks, rides and hotels.

In 2006, biotech company Sanford Burnham received $300 million in state and local taxes to move to Orlando but had to return some of the funds for failing to meet the requirements in its original incentive agreement. Three years earlier, the Scripps Research Institute got $600 million in state and local tax money to set up in Palm Beach County.

Disney's New Regional Campus in Florida
Disney could claim $570 million in tax breaks from Florida for its project. After a shutdown because of the coronavirus, fireworks fill the sky for the first time in 15 months at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. John Raoux/Associated Press