May 9, 2022

Taxpayers Sue DeSantis for Dissolving Disney Special District

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By Lydia Nusbaum

May 9, 2022 Updated 12:18 P.M. ET

LAKE BUENA VISTA (FLV) – Three Florida taxpayers are suing Gov. Ron DeSantis for a new law that would dissolve Walt Disney World’s special independent district. 

The lawsuit alleged that the law would lead to “significant injury to taxpayers, and they clearly have a personal stake in the outcome of this litigation.”

The Walt Disney Company’s Reedy Creek Independent District gives the company self-governing powers on things like building codes, zoning and electricity. DeSantis signed legislation that dismantles six independent special districts, including Reedy Creek.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District has about $1 billion in bond debt, which would be shifted to the local communities, according to State Rep. Randy Fine. The tax revenues and responsibility for duties like road and water maintenance would also be transferred. 

“Stripping Disney of this special district designation will move these major regulatory burdens unto the county, thereby increasing the Plaintiff’s taxes, and will cause significant injury to Plaintiffs,” the lawsuit said. 

Governor DeSantis has said on multiple occasions that there is a plan to prevent taxpayers from paying more money when Disney’s special district is dissolved. The Governor has not announced the plan yet. 

“As Governor DeSantis has said, Disney will pay its fair share of taxes, and abolishing the special district will not cause tax increases for the residents of any area of Florida,” Pushaw said on Twitter. 

The lawsuit also claims Florida is attempting to eliminate Disney’s First Amendment rights because “certain company employees expressed disagreement with Florida’s” Parental Rights in Education Law.

Florida Republicans made moves to strip Disney of its self-governing powers after the company vowed to have the Parental Rights in Education Law repealed. The law 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.

“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 in April. 

Governor DeSantis said no one company should have the authority Disney has to govern itself. 

“The bonds will be paid by Disney. They will be paying taxes. Probably more taxes. They will follow the laws that every other person has to do and they will no longer have the ability to run their own government,” DeSantis said in April. 

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