A spokesman for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told media today that the governor anticipates a special session of the Florida Legislature meeting next week to discuss the state’s plan for taking over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, home of the Walt Disney World Resort.
Bryan Griffin, Press Secretary for the Governor, confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel “the Governor’s office anticipates a special session next week on Reedy Creek and other items,” but did not disclose what those other items would be.
Early this month, Osceola County posted a notice that the Florida Legislature would be taking up the Reedy Creek issue. The notice stated the aim was “removing and revising powers of the District; increasing state oversight, accountability, and transparency of the District,” and others.
The new legislation will create a state-controlled board for the district. Disney would be required to pay off its debts, instead of these being passed on to taxpayers, something officials were afraid would happen if authority over the district went to local county governments.
“Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents,” Taryn Fenske, communications director for Governor Ron DeSantis, said at the time.
Disney would also lose its special privileges to have tolling authority or build a nuclear power plant.
“The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” Fenske also said. “Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes.”
Osceola County residents filed a lawsuit against DeSantis over the possibility that taxpayers would shoulder Disney’s over $1 billion debt, but that may not move forward now.
Governor DeSantis aimed to get rid of Reedy Creek Improvement District after Disney publicly denounced Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, commonly referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The Florida Senate and House quickly passed a bill to this effect and DeSantis signed it into law on April 22, 2022.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District was established by a 1967 act signed by Republican Governor Claude R. Kirk Jr. The act allowed Disney to get the money and resources they needed to build Walt Disney World without constantly going through local governments. Through the act, landowners within the district, including Walt Disney World, are solely responsible for paying the cost of providing municipal services. That is, local taxpayers do not have to pay for these services.
The district essentially acts as its own county government and encompasses the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, with fewer than 100 residents total. Residents of the two communities elect their city officials. The district is run by a five-member Board of Supervisors, elected by landowners (not residents), essentially leaving Disney as the sole controller.
Read more about the Reedy Creek Improvement District and what may happen with its dissolution.
The dissolution is scheduled for June 1, 2023.
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1 thought on “Gov. DeSantis ‘Anticipates’ Special Legislative Session on Reedy Creek Improvement District Takeover Next Week”
Ron DeSantis is a tyrant, but there are rumors in Tallahassee that he has untreated syphilis and it’s impairing his cognitive ability. That would certainly make a lot of sense.