DeSantis Seeks Direct Control Over Disney District

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Florida’s governor is mapping out the takeover of Reedy Creek.

Last month, Florida state government, backed by governor Ron DeSantis, introduced a bill that would strip Disney of its ownership of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This district, where many of Disney’s properties in the state are located, is operated under Disney’s jurisdiction, with the company paying for services like the fire department and road management. While the exact status of Disney’s ownership of the district is still murky, DeSantis is already mapping out the government’s plan to assume control.

“The path forward is Disney will not control its own government in the state of Florida,” DeSantis told reporters on Monday. “Disney will have to follow the same laws that every other company has to follow the state of Florida. They will pay their fair share in taxes.”

Analysts and lawmakers have cautioned that taking control of the district from Disney would leave its citizenry on the hook for its $1 billion in outstanding debt. DeSantis dismissed these concerns, claiming that Disney would pay the cost via the increased taxes it would incur once its special status has been stripped.

“More likely that the state will simply assume control and make sure that we’re able to impose the law and make sure we’re collecting the taxes,” he said.

Should the dissolution of Disney’s ownership of Reedy Creek be finalized, it likely would not go into effect until around June of 2023. In the meantime, DeSantis is planning on soliciting opinions from new legislative leaders coming in after the November elections.

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