As reported by The Orlando Sentinel, the state of Florida will likely assume control of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District according to Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Florida Gov. claimed he is working on a proposal that likely will be considered by the Legislature after the November elections.
“The path forward is, that Disney will not control its own government in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “Disney will have to follow the same laws that every other company has to follow in the state of Florida. They will pay their share of taxes, and they will be responsible for paying the debts.”
Under current Florida state law, the district’s assets and responsibilities would be transferred to the “local general purpose government” when and if the Disrtict is officially terminated. Those specific governments include Orange County and Osceola County and the Disney-controlled cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista which contain multiple Disney World properties.
“I’d much rather have the state leading that effort than potentially having local government [in charge]. … I’m worried that they [local officials] would use that as a pretext to raise taxes on people when that’s what they would want to do anyways and then try to blame Reedy Creek. So we’re not going to give them that opportunity,” said Gov. DeSantis
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.
Reedy Creek, which is controlled by Disney, can issue tax-free bonds, levy taxes, oversee land use and environmental protections and provide essential public services.
This is just another piece of the immense fallout we have seen after Disney took a firm stance against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Since the company’s “firm” stance against the bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as other politicians, have targeted the company specifically, introducing legislation that could take away the company’s copyright protections.
Concerned taxpayers also issued a lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis which was struck down by a federal judge.
The relationship between the state of Florida and the Walt Disney World Resort seems to be hanging in the balance. We recently reported how the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act could financially affect taxpayers. We will continue to update our story as more information comes out.
What do you think of this potential decision?
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