DeSantis is ending the Disney Reedy Creek Development District
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation Monday that he says ends Disney’s rule over the “unaccountable kingdom of corporations” that is Walt Disney World. The move was denounced as legislative blackmail by critics when DeSantis took aim at Disney after the company vocally opposed Florida’s bill on parental rights in education, often dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Before the new legislation, Disney World was in a special tax district covering 25,000 acres in Orange and Osceola counties called The Reedy Creek Improvement District. The district was created in 1967 by a state statute that gave the Walt Disney Company state control of the land in and around its central Florida theme parks.
Since setting up the framework, Disney has paid hefty sales taxes, tourism development, and property taxes on country and county. Since the district was formed, it has functioned like a county government, with Disney solely responsible for meeting the cost of electricity, water, road maintenance, fire safety, and other typical community services without any contribution from local taxpayers. The Reedy Creek Improvement District generally maintains roads and buildings to a higher standard than its neighboring districts.
The new law ends Disney’s autonomy and places the land area under the direct control of a state board of five overseers appointed by the governor. This area has now been renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The new board will then oversee municipal services such as fire safety, public utilities, refuse collection and road maintenance; it is also authorized to collect revenue to pay for these services. The counties will also inherit handsomely Debt held by Reedy Creek.
Passing the new law is a major political victory for DeSantis, whose public attacks on Disney have been dubbed “Group awakened‘ helped raise his national profile in anticipation of the 2024 presidential election.
“Allowing a company to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the company is making decisions that affect an entire region,” DeSantis said in a opinion. “This legislation ends Disney’s self-governing status, lets Disney live under the same laws as everyone else, and ensures Disney pays its debts and its fair share of taxes.”
Disney has long been Florida’s largest employer, employing nearly 80,000 people with over $3 billion in payroll.
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/desantis-eliminates-self-governed-district-and-disneys-56-year-corporate-kingdom-what-it-means-legally/ DeSantis is ending the Disney Reedy Creek Development District