Disney Tax District



Tensions have been rising between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after he threatened to dissolve Disney’s special tax district. 

DeSantis’ threats came after Disney continued to speak out against the signing of Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney was urged by protestors to use their influence to try and halt the signing of the bill. 

Tensions have been rising between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after he threatened to dissolve Disney’s special tax district. 

In return, Governor DeSantis introduced a new bill which would dissolve the special tax district that Disney was granted. The district would begin to be dissolved in the summer of 2022, 13 months after it was signed into effect. 

The state and Disney came to an agreement in 1967 that gave Disney its own tax district for its park called the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The district gave Disney control over the land for their own construction and the management of their parks. It also made them responsible for everything within the district, from building inspections to 911 calls to sewage treatment. 

Dissolving the district would push all of the expenses that Disney covers onto the hands of the state taxpayers. It would cost an estimated $164 million dollars a year, and the state has no extra revenue to cover those expenses. Therefore, the taxes would be raised within Orange County and Osceola county, the two districts that Reedy Creek currently straddles. 

Governor DeSantis has made it known that Floridians will not have to pay these taxes, despite claims from experts that say otherwise. DeSantis has said that Disney will continue to pay the taxes, even if their tax district is dissolved, taking a solid stance against the company. 

Meanwhile, Disney has continued to fight back against this legislation. In the 1967 agreement that granted them their tax district, there is a clause that states that the district cannot be dissolved before all of the bond debts associated with it are paid. If the bill were to go into effect and the district be dissolved, Orange and Osceola counties would inherit upwards of $1 billion in bond debts. 

Many officials are worried that DeSantis is making rushed decisions. The dissolution of Disney’s tax district may deter the company from speaking out against the government, but it could also cost the state billions of dollars. 

Some people think DeSantis may be using this bill as a way to keep his name in the news as the 2024 presidential elections draw nearer. DeSantis claims that he is helping to defend Floridian voices, especially those of parents, which would strengthen his image if he is successful. 

Despite Disney’s pushing back against the legislation, DeSantis has doubled down on his decision, even announcing that the state will create additional legislation to cover any legal loopholes. The legal battle looks like it will continue over the next few weeks or even months as the date of dissolution and the upcoming election draw nearer.