The Walt Disney Company has been at odds with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ever since the company spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights Bill (also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) that the governor eventually signed into law.
Governor DeSantis retaliated against the company by threatening to dissolve Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, which allowed Disney World to act as its own county government. The Governor’s efforts to dissolve the district were successful, and a bill was passed to do so. So where do things stand now with this situation?
Who Will Control The Reedy Creek District?
Previously, Governor DeSantis said that “the state will likely assume control of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, rather than the local governments absorbing it.” At the time, the governor was working on a proposal with more specifics.
However, the Governor has still not given out any specific details about that plan. According to The Orlando Business Journal, he has continued to be clear that he would not allow county governments to take control of the district. At a May 2022 event at Seminole State College, he said:
“More likely, the state will simply assume control and make sure we’re able to impose the law and make sure we’re collecting the taxes … There’s a whole bunch of different things we will be able to do. I’d much rather have the state leading that effort than potentially having local governments … I’m worried they would use that as a pretext to raise taxes on people when that’s what they would want to do anyway, and then try to blame Reedy Creek. We’re not going to give them that opportunity. “
However, the Governor has still not offered up any further information as to what the plan might entail for taking over the District.
So What’s The Plan?
On July 11th, 2022, The Orlando Business Journal contacted Governor DeSantis’ office regarding an ongoing lawsuit. Bryan Griffin, a spokesperson with that office wrote, “The text of the bill that removes the special district states that the dissolution isn’t effective until June 1, 2023. As always promised, the debts of the Reedy Creek Improvement District will not fall to the local residents. When we do have more to share, we [will] make a formal announcement at that time.”
However, Griffin, and the senators who sponsored the bill, were not available for comment.
Many lawmakers and experts have come forward with criticisms of the bill, while others are concerned about the lack of a clear plan for moving forward.
Update on Lawsuit Against Governor DeSantis
Taxpayers from counties that surround Disney World filed a complaint in federal court against Governor DeSantis about the issue, stating that the law to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District was made in haste. These taxpayers shared concerns that it would leave counties with a huge amount of debt and that it violated Disney’s First Amendment rights as it was retaliatory against the company’s statement against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
A federal judge quickly dismissed the lawsuit, though, because the law doesn’t go into effect until June 1st, 2023 and because the federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction over issues affecting the state. The judge also claimed that the plaintiffs “do not plausibly allege they have suffered any concrete injury as a result of the alleged violation of Disney’s First Amendment rights.”
However, according to The Orlando Business Journal, that lawsuit was refiled in May, with that case scheduled to go before a judge in July, although it is expected to be delayed until August. The Attorneys representing the plaintiffs have stated that they are waiting to see if the state will file a motion to dismiss, as well as if DeSantis will offer an update on his plan for the District.
So at the moment, Governor DeSantis has not given many details on his plan regarding the Reedy Creek District other than saying that the state will take over. The lawsuit’s status is still hanging in the balance until it is either dismissed or goes forward.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the situation. In the meantime, here are MORE things that could change Disney’s future.
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The post UPDATE: What We Know About Disney World’s Reedy Creek Dissolution first appeared on the disney food blog.