Ron DeSantis warned Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District ‘there’s a new sheriff in town’ as he vowed to make the self-governing area accountable for its debts and unable to continue operating under special provisions.
The Florida governor lauded his new plan to take complete control of Reedy Creek, which gave Disney unprecedented power over the last 56 years in the area encompassing Walt Disney Resort.
He also went on the defense regarding critics who claimed ahead of the unveiling of the legislation earlier this week that he was being too soft on Disney and was not going to hold their special, self-governing district accountable.
‘Disney’s going to pay its debt,’ DeSantis assured during a press conference on Wednesday morning. ‘What I said really for the last six/nine months is: Disney is no longer going to have self-government. They’re not going to have their own government. Disney is gonna pay their fair share of taxes and honor their debts. And that’s exactly what this proposed piece of legislation will do.’
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis assured Wednesday ‘there’s a new sheriff in town’ when it comes to the handling of Disney’s formerly self-governing Reedy Creek Improvement District, which he vowed would pay it’s debts and pay taxes going for war
‘A lot of folks in the media were saying that, ‘Oh my gosh, Disney’s actually going to pay less taxes and Floridians are going to pay more taxes.’ They were saying that,’ the governor added. ‘And I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me.’
‘Well, this puts that to bed and so those debts will be honored,’ he continued.
‘This is now obviously going to be controlled by the state of Florida. There’s a new sheriff in town.’
DeSantis seized control of Disney’s formerly self-governing district in Florida, announcing this week that the company must repay $700 million in debt and begin paying taxes.
In a dramatic escalation of his long-running battle against Disney, the Florida governor on Monday announced he was taking control of the five-member Reedy Creek board.
The board oversees nearly 40 square miles of Florida, on which the Walt Disney World Resort is built.
Reedy Creek owes $700 million in debt to Florida due to it’s 56 years as a tax exempt district governed entirely b y Disney’s five-member board
‘Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency,’ DeSantis deputy press secretary told DailyMail.com in a statement.
DeSantis will also rename the site, switching its name from Reedy Creek to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
DeSantis escalated the battle with Disney by taking full control of the board overseeing Walt Disney Co’s formerly self-governing special tax district encompassing the nearly 40 square miles of Walt Disney World Resort
A new bill was proposed by Florida politicians on Monday, which would give the governor full control over the district, and the ability to appoint the five-member board of supervisors that run the special district.
The nominees would then need to be confirmed by Florida state senators.
The proposed legislation would keep in place Reedy Creek’s obligation to almost $1 billion of outstanding bonds.
Reedy Creek, which granted sweeping benefits to Disney over the last half century due to the special designation, is governed by five board members elected by local property owners.
Considering most of the land within the special district is owned by Disney and its affiliates, the company is given an unbalanced amount of power over how the area is run and essentially allowed Walt Disney Co. to operate as a form of government.
The new rules proposed in Monday’s bill would prevent anyone who had ties to the theme park from serving on the Reedy Creek board.
‘These actions ensure a state-controlled district accountable to the people instead of a corporate-controlled kingdom,’ DeSantis’ deputy press secretary Jeremy Redfern noted.
If approved, the legislation would permanently eliminate Disney’s ability to self-govern the area spanning Orange and Osceola counties in Florida.
Walt Disney World says the company is ‘monitoring the progression ‘ of the legislation
Walt Disney World president Jeff Vahle released a statement on the proposed legislation that would restructure Reedy Creek Improvement District, saying the company is ‘monitoring the progression’ of the legislation.
‘Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year.’
If the bill becomes law, it would also term-limit the board and put the governor in charge of nominating members – as well as allowing Florida to impose taxes and laws on Disney and the district its resort encompasses.
Additionally, the bill would ensure Disney is held responsible for paying more than $700 million in unsecured debts and makes sure that doesn’t fall on Florida taxpayers.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District was created by the Florida legislature in 1967 and provided Disney with special privileges and self-governing rights, which have been targeted by DeSantis.
This power amounted to an unaccountable corporate kingdom,’ Redfern noted.
The bill is a culmination of an ongoing clash between DeSantis and one of the state’s largest employers.