ORLANDO (LifeSiteNews) — Disney will no longer be able to have its own special governing district following legislation signed by Governor Ron DeSantis that official revokes the official status and returns control to the state.
The new legislation follows a proposal last year that would have repealed the existence of the district.
“Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,” Gov. DeSantis said at a bill signing on Monday. “This legislation ends Disney’s self-governing status, makes Disney live under the same laws as everybody else, and ensures that Disney pays its debts and fair share of taxes.”
According to the governor’s office:
HB 9-B ends Disney’s self-governing status and imposes a five-member state control board that is appointed by the Governor and subject to Senate confirmation.This legislation amends the Reedy Creek Improvement District charter which:
- ENDS Disney’s self-governing status.
- ENDS Disney’s exemption from the Florida Building Code and Florida Fire Prevention Code.
- ENDS Disney’s exemption from state regulatory reviews and approvals.
- ENDS Disney’s secrecy by ensuring transparency.
- ENSURES that Disney will pay its fair share of taxes.
- PREVENTS leftist local governments from using the situation to raise local taxes.
- IMPOSES Florida law so that Disney is no longer given preferential treatment.
- ENSURES that Disney’s municipal debt will be paid by Disney, not Florida taxpayers.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 27, 2023
The president of Walt Disney World Resort released a statement saying that the company would not fight the bill.
“For more than 50 years, the Reedy Creek Improvement District has operated at the highest standards, and we appreciate all that the District has done to help our destination grow and become one of the largest economic contributors and employers in the state,” Jeff Vahle said. “We are focused on the future and are ready to work within this new framework and we will continue to innovate, inspire and bring joy to the millions of guests who come to Florida to visit Walt Disney World each year.”
“The Reedy Creek Improvement District has broad authority over zoning, infrastructure, fire response and public utilities over a nearly 40-square-mile area in Osceola and Orange counties,” Variety reported. “The entity levies taxes on Disney and issues tax-exempt bonds for infrastructure projects. As by far the largest landowner within the district, Disney has had the power to elect the five members of the Board of Supervisors.”