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State Senators Claim Governor Ron DeSantis May Establish New Special District Overseeing Walt Disney World Property

CNN correspondent Natasha Chen shared in a Twitter thread that, according to her fellow correspondent Leyla Santiago, Governor Ron DeSantis may establish a new special district run by his own appointees to oversee Walt Disney World Resort property after Reedy Creek Improvement District is dissolved.

DeSantis signed the bill to dissolve the district a few weeks ago, but the law would not go into effect until June 1, 2023. Many questions remain about if the district can be dissolved and what would happen if it goes away, but DeSantis insists he has a plan.

Florida State Senator Linda Stewart, a Democrat representing Orange County, said in a press conference today, “The governor will establish a new district. That’s our latest word under the general-purpose government controlled by the governor, with appointments by the governor. Therefore, the debt will be paid, if this were the case, by the state of Florida for over a billion dollars. Turning it over to Orange County and Osceola County would create the largest property tax increase in our history. We don’t want that to happen.”

Reedy Creek Improvement District has approximately $1 billion in debt. If transferred to Orange and Osceola counties, residents could see a significant property tax increase.

The senators at today’s press conference questioned if the law to dissolve Reedy Creek is legally feasible and said that legal teams are looking into it.

“The bottom line,” said Florida State Senator Victor M. Torres Jr., “is this will affect 400 first responders in Reedy Creek, another 400 who run the sewage and electrical plants, another 2,000 private contractors in Reedy Creek as well.”

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  1. This is really bad news. Through the veil of not raising just local taxes (the taxes would be spread around the state and/or be pulled from other programs), the governor would effectively take control over many aspects of WDW with strong leverage over the property and utilities. If this moves forward the way it is described (direct appointees that report to the governor) this could easily descend into the disaster that was the the Michigan Emergency Manager program that led to the Flint lead water crisis. This would be a horrible outcome!

  2. Sounds like the state government is seizing private property without the use of eminent domain. I’d like to hear what legal professionals think about this.

  3. simple solution. the bonds can be taken over by the state of florida with there credit rating. chapek should never have hinted about behind the scenes negotiations with elected officials in florida basically stating he owned them because he bought them. this entire fiasco rests at the feet of the clueless disney ceo “bob the beancounter”! you can’t make this kind of stuff up folks. unless you are bob the bean counter.

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