In remarks earlier today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis drew a line in the sand and said that he wants the State of Florida to take over Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, echoing statements that local officials make two weeks ago.
DeSantis first addressed the $1 billion of debt that Reedy Creek is carrying. He said that local governments like Orange County and Osceola County wouldn’t absorb the debt, but also said that the state wouldn’t take on the debt either, despite how the bill to dismantle Reedy Creek is currently written. Instead, DeSantis said that the debt “would be dealt with by the taxpayers in that district” – that is, that Disney would pick up the tab.
DeSantis went on to say that there are a number of special districts in the state that are affected by the recent bill. While he said that these other districts could re-authorize their district, he said that in the case of the Reedy Creek Improvement District Disney “will not control its own government in the State of Florida”.
DeSantis said that local governments were “threatening” their citizens with higher tax rates should Reedy Creek fall into the laps of Orange and Osceola counties. Instead, DeSantis said that the state would simply take control of Reedy Creek and force Disney to pay taxes that current laws don’t require Disney to pay.
DeSantis said that the proposal to take all of this action will likely come in November after the election cycle.
Disney World has not made a public statement about the dismantling of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Instead, it has been reported that Disney’s lawyers are working behind the scenes to find a solution that keeps Reedy Creek intact and gives DeSantis a “win” in the public eye.
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