The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis on proposal to control Disney’s Reedy Creek tax district: ‘There’s a new sheriff in town’

By: - February 8, 2023 1:46 pm

Cinderella Castle, the icon of Magic Kingdom, is a tourist mecca and part of the Walt Disney World resort in central Florida. Credit: Wikipedia.

Amid a legislative special session and committee meetings this week in Tallahassee, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner traveled to Ocala, in Central Florida, to discuss tax relief efforts — though the governor also talked about the fate of Disney’s special tax district.

Gov. Ron DeSantis touts the state’s tax relief efforts on baby products and other items during a press conference on Feb. 8, 2023. Credit: DeSantis’ Facebook

Flanked by the GOP legislative leaders at a news conference, DeSantis touted proposals on permanent tax exemptions on baby items, gas stoves, pet medicine and other tax relief initiatives.

But a major issue in the spotlight during the special session is dismantling the self-governing powers of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in Central Florida, and the Republican governor on Wednesday insisted that the state will take control of the district.

“So there’s a new sheriff in town and that’s just the way it’s going to be,” DeSantis said. “Now this is obviously now going to be controlled by the state of Florida, which is no longer self-governing for them.”

“Disney is no longer going to have self-government,” he said. “Disney is going to pay its fair share of taxes and Disney’s going to honor the debt. And that is exactly what this proposed piece of legislation will do.”

A bill introduced Monday by the Legislature would rename Reedy Creek that has been controlled by Disney World for more than 55 years and replace it with a new board selected exclusively by DeSantis, as previously reported by the Florida Phoenix.

Passidomo and Renner bragged about DeSantis’ tax relief programs during the news conference, and Renner even took a jab at the Biden administration’s policies.

“You know up in Washington D.C. they are spending a lot of money and really not delivering any results. This governor and our Legislature deliver results for the people of Florida,” Renner said.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.