Gavin Newsom’s Disney Double Talk

In a recent interview, Gavin Newsom told the LA Times that he was “open to considering” opening up Disneyland after it is purchased by Disney. However, this week at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2019 conference in New York City Gavin had an entirely different story for audiences and critics alike


Gov. Gavin Newsom of California

Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli illustration

Last summer, Walt Disney Co. announced that it will relocate 2,000 California jobs to Florida, citing the Sunshine State’s “business-friendly environment.” Gov. Gavin Newsom must still be reeling from the news. Check out his latest tweets on Florida’s political fight with Disney.

After Florida Republicans revoked a special-tax district that essentially let Disney World run its own private government, Mr. Newsom sniped: “THIS is what ‘business friendly’ means? We protect free speech in California. We help our businesses grow, thrive, and invent the future.” He later added: “But go ahead and keep telling us about ‘fiscal responsibility’ & your ‘business-friendly climate.’”

So why are so many firms, like HPE, Oracle, Palantir, Charles Schwab, and Toyota, relocating their headquarters and employees out of California? And why has California lost 296,000 jobs since the outbreak, while Florida has gained 156,000? Why did California lose 261,902 people from 2020 to 2021, but Florida gained 211,196?

When Disney announced the employment shift last year, it cited two factors: Florida’s absence of a state INCOME TAX and a far cheaper cost of living due to less intrusive government. Take, for example, Mr. Newsom’s arbitrary Covid-19 lockdowns. Disney World will return in July 2020 in Florida. Mr. Newsom made it impossible for Disneyland to do so until late April 2021.

During tensions between the state and the corporation over the closure, former Disney CEO Robert Iger resigned from Mr. Newsom’s Potemkin Covid economic task team. California Democrats exclusively support companies that they support, such as renewable energy and plaintiff legal firms.

Mr. Newsom accused Florida Republicans of retaliating against Disney after CEO Bob Chapek attacked their law restricting age-appropriate gender identity and sexual orientation training in kindergarten through third grade. Republicans were undoubtedly offended by Mr. Chapek’s public criticism of the law as a “threat to fundamental human rights.” However, as Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed out, it’s difficult to explain Florida’s regulatory partiality for Disney World in terms of free-market principles.

Florida isn’t saying Disney can’t lobby all it wants in terms of free speech. Mr. Newsom is one to listen to. Last year, the Supreme Court overturned a California law requiring private organizations fundraising in the state to name their donors, citing nonprofits’ allegations that it may lead to political harassment and retaliation. Remember how progressives attacked same-sex marriage opponents in the state’s 2008 ballot measure?

Because they don’t want to become targets of the left, CEOs seldom oppose progressive government. Jennifer Sey claims she was pushed to retire as president of Levi Strauss after criticizing school cutbacks. The fact that CEOs feel more free to criticize Republicans than Democrats says a lot about who is more pro-business and pro-free speech.

The best and worst of the week from Kim Strassel, Jason Riley, and Dan Henninger in the Journal Editorial Report. AFP/Getty Images/ABC/MSNBC/Zuma Press/Shutterstock/AFP/Getty Images/ABC/MSNBC/Zuma Press/Sh Mark Kelly’s composite

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