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Our dumb state Vol. 8

Attack of the banana cream Republicans

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Well, that won’t be necessary, because though West is abjectly reviled by the gay community – even going so far as to be uninvited to a Wilton Manors business-interest meeting for his hardline homophobia – he doesn’t even believe that gay exists. He instead likens homosexuality to a preference for a certain flavor of ice cream (chocolate chip!) or, say, a predilection for riding scooters. “People can change their sexual behavior,” he told the Sun-Sentinel earlier this month. Ladies and gentlemen, our own Marcus Bachmann.


Here in the land of tourism and its requisite recreational whiplash, it’s easy to forget that all of the high-speed twists and turns that tend to make a participant lightheaded – if not outright dumb – are the bread and butter of an otherwise dilapidated economy. Traced back to the sweetheart deals that led Mr. Walt Disney to surmise that the swamplands of Florida would be the most economically sensible for his somewhat childlike ambitions – let’s not forget that EPCOT was supposed to be an actual commune in a bubble, ostensibly devoid of tax concerns – it’s apparent why lawmakers have frequently given more than just a pass to the big name escapism retailers: You don’t want to anger the cuddly beast.

However, in light of recent litigation against online hotel package retailers known for skipping through loopholes to lessen their tax burdens, some of Disney’s – and to a minor extent, Universal Orlando’s – fiduciary cushioning has been called into question. Here’s how it works: Disney sells package deals (tickets combined with hotel rooms and sundry other perks) at a discounted rate to its own organization, the Walt Disney Travel Co., which then upsells them to consumers; the sales tax revenue reflects that discounted price; Disney makes mountains of cash; the state loses revenue.

The deal stems from a 1991 law allowing the “wholesale” packaging, according to a May Orlando Sentinel report. And though Disney surpasses all other entities in its payment of state and local taxes – $566 million a year – it also claims to sell hundreds of thousands of the suspect package deals, to itself, at a discount. There is no wait time to ride this particular loophole.


All hail the new hypocrisy! You may remember Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon’s gall when he suggested that perhaps the Florida Supreme Court should be split in two as a means of suppressing liberal judicial activism (the kind of activism that recently removed a number of his own suggested constitutional amendments from the ballot); that measure was eventually stripped from legislation in the spring session, largely because of a lot of backlash from his wondertwin, the Mike Haridopolos-led state Senate.

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