DeSantis Says Bill for Florida to Take Over Disney’s Reedy Creek is in Development

A bill for the Florida government to take control of Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District is in the works, Governor Ron DeSantis says.

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A spokesperson for the governor’s office said on Tuesday night that DeSantis is expecting a special session next week that would cover the Reedy Creek issue.

“We’re not going to have a corporation controlling its own government,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee. “That’s going to be reverted to the state. I’d rather it be the local [governments], but I don’t think that they’re prepared for it. So the state is going to have a board to run it.”

DeSantis said that the state of Florida would “make sure that there are no special legal privileges and that they’re abiding by the same laws. That will be in the bill. And then making sure they’re paying their fair share of taxes and paying the debt.”

He reiterated that the state taking over Reedy Creek would not raise taxes on residents of Orange and Osceola counties, something officials were afraid would happen if authority over the district went to local county governments.

In January, 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.

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.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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1 thought on “DeSantis Says Bill for Florida to Take Over Disney’s Reedy Creek is in Development”

  1. So if this goes through do you think Disney moves Disney World to East Texas or South Carolina? Word has it Disney bought up some large tracts of land in both places right after this whole thing started.

    My money is on S. Carolina. The cruise industry is already established there so Disney Cruise Lines can swap operations over without too much headache, they’d still be on the East Coast, it’s still a red state so very little tax to worry about, plus their legislature seems less likely to commit political Hari-Kari over some stupid culture war nonsense with the largest employer in the state.

    After leading the nation in COVID deaths, forcing a 100,000 people to either relocate or lose their job, and running off the entity that pays the most into the state coffers do you think they’ll finally get fed up and vote this bozo out of office?


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