Governor Ron DeSantis has been at war with Disney ever since then CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the Parental Rights in Education Act (dubbed the “don’t say gay bill ” by critics) early last year. Despite warnings from DeSantis against Disney getting involved, Chapek even went so far as to say the company would overturn the law.
In a retaliatory act, DeSantis made good on his promise that Disney would regret involvement and declared that Disney’s special tax district, Reedy Creek would be dissolved. The date given for the dissolution was originally June 2023, but it looks like it may happen sooner rather than later.
A bill is currently being written to overturn Disney’s special status and DeSantis says he expects the matter to be addressed in a special session of the legislature next week.
“We’re not going to have a corporation controlling its own government,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee. “That’s going to be reverted to the state. I’d rather it be the local [governments], but I don’t think that they’re prepared for it. So the state is going to have a board to run it.”
This is in line with previous statements from the Governor’s office that stated an intention for state control over Disney property. A spokesperson previously said, “The corporate kingdom has come to an end. 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.” It seems that they meant what they said.
In an interview this week, DeSantis reiterated much of what henhas been saying all along, saying, “make sure that there are no special legal privileges and that they’re abiding by the same laws. That will be in the bill. And then making sure they’re paying their fair share of taxes and paying the debt.”
DeSantis insists this will not raise taxes on citizens and will not increase costs. Currently Disney pays for all of Reedy Creek’s upkeep and maintenance related costs (such as Fire Services, and its 911 call center). When the new law dissolves the special district, the state will be one responsible for those costs, unless as DeSantis hinted above there are provisions made for Disney to continue paying for these services themselves, which would likely result in a legal dispute.