By Lydia Nusbaum
May 10, 2022 Updated 1:39 P.M. ET
TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Democrat candidate for Governor Nikki Fried said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislation to strip The Walt Disney Company of its self-governing powers will have a “direct impact” on the taxes residents pay, even though DeSantis has said multiple times that residents will not pay more taxes.
Fried spoke in a Fox News interview where she slammed the Governor for taking away Disney’s special privileges after the company vowed to have the Parental Rights in Education law repealed.
“What this is going to do now is have a direct impact on the people that live in this community. They are going to have a direct impact on the amount of taxes they pay. The type of services they get provided,” Fried said. “The fact of the matter is the people who are going to get harmed by this are the people on the ground and those that are living in the community.”
The new law dissolves Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District because lawmakers call it unconstitutional. The 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act allows Disney to govern itself in Walt Disney World on things like building codes, zoning, and electricity.
As of now, Disney’s $1 billion in bond debt and road responsibilities would shift to the surrounding counties and municipalities when the district is dissolved.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that somehow Disney is going to get a tax cut out of this. They are going to pay more taxes as a result of it,” DeSantis said in April.
DeSantis has said he has a plan to make sure local residents do not face higher taxes after the district dissolves. The plan has not been released yet.
Fried said Republicans’ decision to strip Disney’s powers is an act of “revenge” for speaking out against the Parental Rights in Education Law. The law prevents children from Pre-K through 3rd grade from being taught about gender and sexual identity. Disney vowed to have the law repealed
“The ironic part about all of this is that Disney has had its special district since 1967, there’s never been a conversation until this moment to change the way that it works,” Fried said.
Governor DeSantis said the company’s move to use its political influence to “repeal” the law was “attacking” Florida parents.
“I am not comfortable having one company with their own government and special privileges when that company has pledged itself to attacking the parents in my state when that company has people very high up talking about injecting pansexualism into programming for young kids,” DeSantis said.
Disney’s special district is set to dissolve by June 1st, 2023.
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