April 25, 2022

Taxpayers Not Expected to Pay More Taxes After Dissolving Disney Special District, DeSantis says

Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 'Stop W.O.K.E. Act,' April 22, 2022.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 'Stop W.O.K.E. Act,' April 22, 2022.

By Lydia Nusbaum

April 25, 2022 Updated 9:26 A.M.

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis told taxpayers not to “worry” after he signed legislation Friday (S.B. 4-C) to dissolve the Walt Disney Company’s independent special district. 

The 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act allows Disney to govern itself in Walt Disney World on things like building codes, zoning, and electricity. The new law dismantles six independent special districts created before 1968, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District. 

“Now people will say they do have services and utilities. We’re going to take care of all of that. Don’t worry. We have everything thought out,” DeSantis said Friday. “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.”

State Rep. Randy Fine said during committee that Disney has about $1 billion in bond debt. He said that debt, tax revenues, and road responsibilities would shift to the surrounding counties and municipalities. 

Some people have sounded the alarms saying this could negatively impact local taxpayers. Scott Randolph, a Democrat and the Orange County tax collector, said on Twitter Orange County would take on $163 million each year. 

However, the Governor’s office said residents are not expected to face higher taxes because of the legislation to dissolve the special districts. 

“It is not the understanding or expectation for SB 4-C, abolishing independent special districts, to cause any tax increases for the residents of any area of Florida,” the Governor’s office said in a press release.

“In the near future, we will propose additional legislation to authorize additional special districts in a manner that ensures transparency and an even playing field under the law.”

The Governor has not announced any specific legislation at the moment. 

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