There has been a lot of clamor in the state of Florida between Walt Disney World and Gov. Ron DeSantis after the passing of the controversial HB 1557 or “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which forbade the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3. Now, the battle has reached new heights, but Floridian taxpayers could be the ones who wind up paying the price.

In a move that was first passed by the state House and Senate, DeSantis signed into law a bill that revokes the Walt Disney Company’s special district status in the state on Friday. According to CNBC, this means that the Reedy Creek Improvement District would be dissolved by June 2023, after operating in the state since 1967 to freely let the company's theme park add hotels and other new attractions to its resort area without interference from local counties, and at no cost to Florida taxpayers. The district also allows Disney to maintain and service 130 miles of roads, 67 miles of waterways, its own fire protection, emergency services, water, utilities and sewage, and allows the company to levy additional taxes up to $105 million a year on itself in order to continue paying for the services.

However, with Randy Creek absorbed into regular counties, taxpayers would then be forced to foot the bill if the theme park needed emergency services or to fix potholes in its roads, and that could mean that property taxes could increase on residents as a result—by 20-25%, in order to make up the difference that used to be covered by Disney.

The move was widely slammed on social media, with other politicians all blasting DeSantis and referring to it as an attempt to retaliate against the company for being openly against HB 1557.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others called out Desantis and Republicans, in general, for trying to spin problems around on The Biden Administration, and called for DeSantis to be removed from office in the next election because of this and other actions he has taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, who successfully beat a recall election last year, also weighed in on the issue.

 

 

Following the bill’s passing and the outcry over how it could affect Floridians, DeSantis’ office issued a statement to Fox Business, clarifying that “it is not the understanding or expectation for SB 4-C, abolishing independent special districts, to cause any tax increased for the residents of any area of Florida.”

The statement went on to also say that “In the near future, we will propose additional legislation to authorize additional special districts in a manner to ensure transparency and an even playing field under the law.”

Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis has taken on entertainment giant Disney, moving to strip the company of its self-governing power over its theme parks in Orlando Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis has taken on entertainment giant Disney, moving to strip the company of its self-governing power over its theme parks in Orlando Photo: Gregg Newton via AFP / Gregg Newton