The Walt Disney Company has been experiencing some political pushback following their condemnation of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.
Previously, we’ve seen Florida politicians, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, move to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The dissolution of Reedy Creek will remove many creative and expansive freedoms for Disney, while potentially placing the burden of maintenance costs on taxpayers. And now, we have an update on this situation.
The dissolution of Reedy Creek is expected to take place by June 2023, leaving many residents wondering what that will mean for them — even inspiring some to take legal action. And, according to an Orlando Business Journal article, experts are also speculating that tax burdens may fall on residents in Orange and Osceola counties, potentially surpassing $1 billion in debt and costs.
In terms of moving forward, DeSantis has confirmed he’s working on new legislation regarding the district, although no details beyond that have been shared. The article also points to an event at Seminole State College where DeSantis announced that local governments would not be allowed to take control, leaving the state to assume control, regulate laws, and collect taxes.
There still aren’t specific plans for the dissolution, but we know it won’t be effective until June 1st, 2023 (according to the bill). However, according to Bryan Griffin, a spokesman with DeSantis’ office, the debts of Reedy Creek will not fall on the local residents, and they’ll share more in the future.
Most experts find the ambiguity of the dissolution and its troubling logistics to be concerning. This has some experts, like Chad Emerson, author of the book “Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World,” pointing to keeping Reedy Creek as the best solution for citizens, workers, and Florida businesses.
UPDATE: The Director of Florida’s Division of Bond Finance, Ben Watkins, has said that there will probably be a successor district created by Florida lawmakers, according to Bloomberg. This district would take on most of the power to perform municipal functions that the Reedy Creek district holds right now. It would also take on its debts.
Watkins said that it is also to be expected that the previously-granted powers given to the district that were never used will not be authorized, like operating a nuclear power plant. He also said that Gov. DeSantis’ office has been supportive of the idea of a successor district, but legislators do have the final say in what will happen.
There is still another lawsuit filed by Central Floridians regarding the potential tax implications, which is expected to be heard in late July or August. We’ll update you when there’s more movement on the lawsuit, as well as the dissolution of Reedy Creek.
In the meantime, to understand this situation better, take a look at Disney’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. Then, check out the reaction from Florida politicians, which included the inspiration to dissolve Reedy Creek.
We’ll continue to bring you the latest Disney updates, so stay tuned to AllEars.