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Tipsheet

Florida Unveils Plan to Dissolve Disney's Self-Governing Status

AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

In a statement from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' (R) office, they explained what will happen once Disney World's self-governing district is revoked, which started after the mega-company wrongfully accused the state of targeting the LGBTQ+ community when they passed a law to prevent educators from teaching children sexual content in early grade school.

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The Florida legislature will be passing the bill regarding the Reedy Creek Improvement District during a special session this week. DeSantis' office is promising the new law will bring an era of accountability and transparency.

"In 1967, the Florida Legislature created the Reedy Creek Improvement District (the District), in which gifted extraordinary special privileges to a single corporation. Until Governor DeSantis acted, the Walt Disney Company maintained sole control over the District. This power amounted to an unaccountable Corporate Kingdom," Deputy Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern explained. "Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency."

The legislation would do the following:

  • Permanently eliminates Disney’s self-governing status.
  • Imposes a state-controlled, term-limited board – with members appointed by the governor – on Disney and its property.
  • Allows the state to impose taxes on Disney for possible road projects outside of the District’s boundaries.
  • Ensures that Disney pays the $700+ million in unsecured debt – not Florida taxpayers.
  • Provides no control of the district to the leftist local government in Orange County, which threatened to leverage the situation to raise local taxes.
  • Imposes Florida law so that Disney is no longer given preferential treatment.
  • Prevents Disney from gaining more land by eminent domain.
  • Creates an avenue to compel Disney to contribute to local infrastructure.
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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. Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country," Disney said in a statement released last year.

Redfern noted what Disney was able to do under the 1967 agreement:

  • Full self-governing status with a Disney-selected board.
  • The ability to build airports and nuclear facilities.
  • Acquisition of property beyond the District's territory by condemnation and eminent domain.
  • Unilateral boundary changes.
  • No-bid procurements of construction contracts.
  • Operating standards that varied from Florida Statute.
  • Exemptions from regulatory reviews and approvals that other companies must navigate.

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