Gov. DeSantis’ Feud With Disney Could Push $2 Billion of Debt On Taxpayers

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Florida Travel Restrictions Lifted

More information recently came out regarding the battle between Gov. DeSantis and Disney revealing taxpayers may be getting the short end of the stick.

(l-r) beast, paige o'hara, and princess belle in front of cinderella castle at disney world
Credit: Disney

Related: Guest Walks “Miles” Back To Park After Getting “Kicked Off” Disney Ride

The last few months have been an incredibly tumultuous time for The Walt Disney Company. As soon as word got out that the company had actually backhandedly supported Florida’s controversial Parental Rights law, fans, employees, and leaders were stunned. This resulted in the company backtracking with CEO Bob Chapek even pledging millions of dollars toward the Human Rights Campaign.

Credit: Disney

Related: Cast Member Jumps In Water, Saves Guests Trapped On Disney Ride

This firm stance against the new bill caused friction between the company and the state of Florida, with Gov. Ron DeSantis continuing to escalate the battle with incendiary words and potential actions. As of yesterday, Gov. DeSantis heightened the stakes, publicly announcing he was considering terminating the special treatment Disney has been receiving due to the state’s Reedy Creek Improvement act.

The Reedy Creek Improvement Act essentially allows Walt Disney World to reside in Florida unregulated, acting as its own “government” in a way. The act involved creating a special taxing district that acts with the same authority as a county government. The legislation made the claim that landowners within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, primarily Walt Disney World, could be allowed to be solely responsible for paying the cost of providing typical municipal services like power, water, roads, fire protection etc. Local taxpayers, meaning residents of Orange and Osceola County, would not have to pay for building or maintaining those services.

Credit: State of Florida Office of the Governor

This situation, while complex, seemed fairly cut-and-dry until reporters started to do the numbers and figure out what the termination of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act would actually mean for local taxpayers. Mary Ellen Klas, the Miami Herald Capitol Bureau Chief tweeted some more information regarding the situation between Disney and Gov. DeSantis which you can see below:

Details emerge on @GovRonDeSantis idea to repeal Disney’s special district governing authority. To pay the Disney’s $2 B in bond debt, Orange and Osceola county families would have to be assessed $2,200 tax bill says @FarmerForFLSen. “This is shoot first and ask questions later.”

Klas continued the thread:

Sen. @JeffreyBrandes asks: “My concern is this bill essentially wipes away Disneys’ $2 billion of debt…if the legislative intent here is ultimately to attack them, then why would we want to cancel $2 billion of debt?”

As you can see, the termination of this act could transfer a whopping $2 billion worth of debt over to taxpayers, resulting in thousands of dollars in tax bills. While nothing is set in stone, at the moment, the relationship between Gov. DeSantis and Disney seems quite strained with the future looking uncertain to say the least. We will ocntinue to update our story as more information comes out.

How do you feel about the battle currently going on between the state of Florida and Disney World?

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disneyland Resort, including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District. Or what about Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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