Governor Ron DeSantis – Website Home Pages of Reedy Creek Improvement District — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Tada Images
Upon the signing of a bill renaming and rebuilding Reedy Creek by Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida gained official control over Disney’s special area.
At a press conference held on Monday at Reedy Creek Fire Station No. 4, the governor signed House Bill 9B. In order to modify the district’s name to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and grant DeSantis complete authority to choose the board’s five members, the law was enacted during a special session last month.
“Since the 1960s. they’ve enjoyed privileges unlike any company or individual in the state of Florida has ever enjoyed. They, of course, control their own government right here in Central Florida. They had exemptions from laws that everybody else had to follow, and they were able to get huge amounts of benefits without paying their fair share of taxes and even racked up $700 million worth of municipal debt,” the governor said.
When Disney publicly opposed “Don’t Say Gay,” which forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and lessons judged not age-appropriate, the Disney district takeover was launched last year. In an effort to punish the business, DeSantis ordered lawmakers to disband the district during a special session of the legislature in April, starting a heavily scrutinized reorganization procedure.
The governor clarified that the decision to revoke the company’s self-government status was not only motivated by the company’s opposition to the “Don’t Speak Gay” policy.
“That was only a mild annoyance. I think that what we came to realize after that dust settled on that was you clearly had a movement within the corporation itself, of course, Burbank, California-based elements of it that said it’s their job or it’s their goal to inject a lot of this sexuality into the programming for young kids,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
Along with ending Disney’s self-governance, the new law will also ensure Disney pays “its fair share of taxes,” ensure Disney is subject to state and regulatory reviews and approval, end Disney’s exemption from the Florida building code and Florida fire prevention code, and stop the situation from increasing local taxes, the governor said.
“This bill will also impose Florida law on this area, just like it’s imposed on Universal Studios and SeaWorld and all these other places. And this bill and the structure we’ve created in this bill will ensure that the municipal debt that’s been racked up will be paid by Disney, not by Florida taxpayers,” DeSantis said. ” And so this is what accountability looks like. This is what standing up for Florida taxpayers in the rule of law looks like and I’m really happy that the legislature was able to do this.”
The governor was given the authority to appoint five people to the Board of Supervisors as part of the legislation. According to DeSantis, these people:
- Martin Garcia, chair of the board
- Bridget Ziegler, Sarasota County school board member
- Brian Aungst, attorney in Clearwater
- Mike Sasso, attorney in Seminole County
- Ron Peri, chairman and CEO of The Gathering USA
“The state of Florida is the new sheriff in town. You know, I got a lot on my plate. I can’t be running this, you know from the governor’s office. So we’ve created a state control board that is going to be responsible for governing this area,” he said of the five-member board.
On June 1, the redesigned district would carry on under a new name and retain its extensive powers to levy property taxes, manage water and sewer systems, roads, parking lots, a fire service, and other infrastructure, as well as issue bonds to fund projects.
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Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.