DeSantis takes action to put direct state control over Disney’s special Florida district, Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek Special District; Disney Logo — Courtesy: Shutterstock — chrisdorney

In an effort to sever the entertainment giant’s decades-long partnership with the Sunshine State, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will attempt to directly place Disney’s special governing district under state control.

The self-governing section of Reedy Creek, which is currently de facto administered by The Walt Disney Company and permits it to maintain its own infrastructure and public services, will be under the jurisdiction of a new board that DeSantis is likely to select. The district, which was established in 1967, also enables Disney to levy taxes and issue bonds to pay for operating costs for the Walt Disney World resort.

“The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” said DeSantis’s communications director, Taryn Fenske, in a statement. “Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes.”

Fenske also added that a state-controlled board would make sure that the neighboring Orange County would not use Reedy Creek issues “as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.” 

The Friday development was originally reported by Fox News, which cited sources in DeSantis’ office. There was notice that the proposed legislation would affect every current feature of Reedy Creek in a document uploaded to the website of Osceola County, which borders both Orange County and Reedy Creek.

In a special session held last year, Florida lawmakers decided to disband all special districts like Reedy Creek by June 2023. It was unclear right away how the previous vote would affect the new proposal.

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