By Lydia Nusbaum
April 27, 2022 Updated 12:01 P.M. ET
LAKE BUENA VISTA (FLV) – There are mixed signals on whether Disney’s special district can be dissolved after Disney pointed out a “pledge” Florida made to bondholders.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to disband six special districts including the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which gives Disney its self-governing powers.
Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District has reportedly reassured its investors that the district may not be dissolved because of Florida’s pledge to bond holders in the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act that the District’s rights would not be limited until all bonds “are fully met and discharged.”
This part of the code says “the State of Florida has pledged to the holders of any bonds issued by the District: that it will not limit or alter the rights of the District to own, acquire… levy and collect the taxes… and that it will not modify in any way the exemption from taxation… until all such bonds… are fully met and discharged.”
The Reedy Creek Improvement District reportedly has about $1 billion in bond debt. That debt and the tax revenues from Disney could shift to surrounding municipalities and counties.
Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, sponsored the two-page bill to dissolve any special districts created before 1968 by June 1st, 2023.
Fine said the legislation repealed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, therefore, that “pledge” does not apply.
“Some of the arguments that are being made are literally weak,” Fine said. “The notion that a private corporation can have the right to issue government finance bonds. The notion that the state of Florida can never change its laws. I mean, these are dangerous arguments that are being made by people who don’t like what we did.”
It is unclear whether Disney’s district will be repealed without a legal battle.
The 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act allows Disney to govern itself in Walt Disney World on things like building codes, zoning, and electricity.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers called for Disney’s special privileges to be dissolved after the California-based company vowed to “repeal” the state’s Parental Rights in Education Act.
Left-wing activists have dubbed the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” The act provides parents more access to information to their children’s personal education experience and prevent children from Pre-K through 3rd grade from being taught about gender and sexual identity.
Democrats said lawmakers should not retaliate against a company for speaking their opinions. However, DeSantis said the company was actively getting in the way of a parent’s right to be involved in their child’s education.
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