Ron DeSantis Taking Control of Disney’s Special Tax Zone


Paul Hennessy

On February 10th Republicans Florida’s House of Representatives introduced a legislation giving Ron DeSantis control over Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Allison Walze, Reporter

Recently, Republicans in Florida’s House of Representatives introduced a legislation on February 10th that would give DeSantis control over Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. The plan is to rename the village Reedy Creek to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, where DeSantis would have control to appoint the town’s board of supervisors.

The change in legislation was in retaliation of Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” The original plan was to dissolve the town, although on the 6th of February that plan was replaced by the bill that would give DeSantis power over Reedy Creek.

The bill will allow the village to remain intact with Disney’s tax collection and contracts on the district will not be affected. Although the place will keep its “outstanding debt, backing DeSantis’ statements that Orange and Osceola counties would not be responsible for Reedy Creek’s $1 billion debt,” as Jeffery Scheweers and Skyler Swish wrote on the Orlando Sentinel. On top of the debt the village has, the state now can tax Reedy Creek for various projects outside of the town.

The district had been in the control of Disney for over 50 years where the company collected taxes to fund the park’s personal fire departments, water, power, and road services in the area. Disney had been able to choose its own supervisors since 1967. The supervisors under Disney’s selection were usually people who did some sort of business with the company whether they worked there or had a contract. Though the new bill will prohibit anybody who worked at the park or had a contract with the park within the last three years to be a board supervisor.

With Ron DeSantis taking ahold on the district, Aubrey Jewett, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida, fears the new board members will not have Disney’s interests in heart. And with the company longer able to fully have control over Reedy Creek, they lose the ability to do projects on the town.