State Watch

DeSantis’s office denies Disney move will up Floridians’ taxes

The spokeswoman for Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R) on Thursday said residents will not be affected by the stripping of Disney’s self-governing special district.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), where Disney is located, has said ending its special status is illegal unless the state pays off the district’s extensive debt, according to CNN.

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said the governor’s move, done in response to the company’s criticism of the state’s so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, would not cost taxpayers money.

“Disney will pay its fair share of taxes. Floridians, including residents of Orange and Osceola Counties, will not be on the hook,” she tweeted. “Do not fall for another partisan political lie being amplified by media.”

DeSantis signed the bill on Friday, saying: “You’re a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state. … We view that as a provocation, and we’re going to fight back against that.”

RCID has about $1 billion in outstanding bond debt, credit rating agency Fitch Ratings reported.

“Fitch expects the title of all property owned by RCID, including its indebtedness, to be transferred to Orange County (and to a lesser extent, Osceola County) or to a successor agency, as prescribed under Florida law,” the company wrote last week in response to the new bill.

“If it’s true that the repeal of the special district would hand Disney a tax break, and the local taxpayers would be on the hook for this bail-out to benefit Disney… then why would Disney oppose repealing their special district?” Pushaw continued. “Indeed, why wouldn’t Disney have lobbied to get rid of the special district long ago?”

Reedy Creek, which was set up in 1967 and includes over 27,000 acres in Florida, was instrumental in Disney’s plans to build near Orlando. Company officials said they needed independence to plan their own city and theme park.

The new Florida law will prohibit primary school teachers from teaching subjects related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Educators of all grade levels will be prohibited from instruction on those topics that are not “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate” for their students.

Tags disney Disney World Don't Say Gay bill Dont say gay Florida Florida Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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