On Wednesday, Florida lawmakers voted to dissolve Disney’s self-governing status and special protections given to them by the state of Florida 55 years ago. This will now move on to the state House before being passed to the governor.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced this initiative on Tuesday, saying that the state’s lawmakers “will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968, and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
Since 1967, Disney has been in possession of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special governing and special taxing district for the Walt Disney World Resort. This special district was authorized in order to boost economic development and tourism, and its removal would be devastating to the major corporation.
Fox News provided some background on the Reedy Creek Improvement District:
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“The Reedy Creek Improvement Act was signed into law in May 1967 by Gov. Claude Kirk in response to lobbying efforts by Disney. The entertainment giant proposed building a recreation-oriented development on 25,000 acres of property in a remote area of Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties, which consisted of 38.5 square miles of largely uninhabited pasture and swamp land.
Orange and Osceola County did not have the services or resources needed to bring the project to life, so the state legislature worked with Disney to establish the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special taxing district that allows the company to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.”
Therefore, Disney essentially functions as its own governing body within this district, taking on the responsibility of maintaining all the district’s infrastructure, environmental protections, and essential services. The residents of the district – all Disney employees – elect the officials who report to the board of supervisors.
The elimination of this district could cost Disney an estimated $200 million in local property taxes next year.
Not only would this measure take a toll on Disney, but it could lead to $1 billion of debt being heaped upon two Florida counties – Orange and Osceola counties – forcing them to bear the brunt of this political initiative.
DeSantis’ attempt to remove Disney’s special protections follows a recent escalation in the conflict surrounding Florida’s anti-grooming bill and Disney’s embrace of woke ideology. After publically siding with the Left on the matter of teaching young children about sexuality and gender identity to push their “gay agenda“, DeSantis is fighting back.