Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was a featured guest on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle hosted by Laura Ingraham and said his administration is working on additional legislation to address Disney’s tax status after the Florida Legislature repealed the 1960s-era law that established the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
The district allowed Disney to operate relatively autonomously with the ability to tax at its own rate, provide its own police, and supervise its own utilities. Florida Republicans have indicated that the repeal of the improvement district was long overdue.
However, since the repeal, critics have raised questions about who will cover the cost that Disney once solely was responsible for. DeSantis said the local taxpayer would not have to cover the costs.
“They are paying money to run their operations,” DeSantis said. “They will continue paying money to run their operations, and that will be true if the state is in charge of a district, if it’s dissolved to the locals, it doesn’t matter.”
DeSantis also did not completely indicate what the additional legislation could be.
“There’s going to be additional legislative action,” said DeSantis. “We’ve contemplated that. We know what we’re going to do, so stay tuned; that’ll all be apparent.”
DeSantis continued by saying the “characterization of the statute is inaccurate.”
“Disney will pay its debts,” DeSantis said. “Disney will, for the first time, actually live under the same laws as everybody else in Florida. Imagine that.”
Florida State Representative Randy Fine (R-Brevard County), among other lawmakers, has not disclosed what legislative action could be coming from the Republican majority, but has taken issue with Disney and said, “we are not interested in their California values.”
“Disney is learning that they’re a guest in this state,” Fine said. “We have given them special privileges for 55 years and it’s time for them to remember that we are not California, and we are not interested in California values.”
Florida State Representative Randy Fine (@VoteRandyFine) calls Disney a "guest" in Florida and that the state is "not interested in their California values." https://t.co/tSbUDk0Vs8 pic.twitter.com/S2bsc2I1aD
— Newsmax (@newsmax) April 20, 2022
Outgoing Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) also said it was long overdue for Disney’s special taxing district to be repealed.
“It’s about time that Florida went and looked at these special taxing districts having this awesome power, I mean, Disney, a corporation, has power from the state to build their own nuclear power plant should they decide to do so. After they came out and said what they said, and I agree with you completely, the statements were just totally outrageous, they misled Floridians, they misled Americans about what the Florida legislature did to protect kids Kindergarten through 3rd grade.”
Great to talk with @kilmeade on Fox last night about Florida's Special Session to assess the powers of special districts like Disney’s Reedy Creek.
— Chris Sprowls (@ChrisSprowls) April 22, 2022
The impetus for the Reedy Creek repeal was Disney’s public opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill. They originally were quiet on the issue but came out opposed to the legislation after pressure from employees within Disney
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Disney” by Bastien Nvs.