DeSantis suggests state will assume control of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the state government will likely assume control of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District after he signed a bill dissolving the company’s private government last month.

“Even though there are ways you could potentially have local communities absorb jurisdiction over Disney – after seeing them threatening to raise taxes on their citizens, we are not going to be in a situation where we’re just going to be giving them locally control, ” DeSantis said at Seminole State College during a press conference.

“[It’s] more likely that the state will simply assume control and make sure that we’re able to impose the law and make sure we’re collecting the taxes.”

Florida Gov.  Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at the Eau Gallie High School aviation hangar in Melbourne, Fla., on March 22. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The dissolution of Disney’s private government comes after the company spoke out against a law that bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for children in third grade and younger.

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“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” Walt Disney Company said in a statement last month.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”

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The newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with the crest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theme park Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File/AP Newsroom)

The Reedy Creek Improvement District is set to dissolve in June 2023, but it’s still unclear who will assume control and who will be responsible for the jurisdiction’s roughly $1 billion in debts.

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DeSantis said that he will be releasing a proposal to make it clear that Disney will be responsible for that debt.

“With Reedy Creek, the path forward is Disney will not control its own government in the state of Florida. Disney will have to follow the same laws that every other company has to follow in the state of Florida. They will pay their fair share of taxes and they will be responsible for paying the debts,” DeSantis said Monday.

“At the end of the day, all we’re doing is putting them on a level playing field with all the other companies in Florida, making sure there’s no special privileges, no special deals, and that debt will be honored.”

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