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GOP legislation planned for state takeover of Disney's special district

Reedy Creek Improvement District

Legislation is coming to create a state-controlled board that will take over Disney’s self-governing Reedy Creek Improvement District in Central Florida.

Last year, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida's GOP-run Legislature decided to eliminate Disney’s special district as of June 2023. The company had just come out against legislation -- which critics called the "Don't Say Gay" bill -- banning or restricting talk of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

The Legislature had establishedReedy Creekfor the Walt Disney World Company in 1967.

The special taxing district has nearly $700 million in municipal bonds, Fitch Ratings reported in October. And the law eliminating it appears to leave that debt to Osceola and Orange County taxpayers.

But a notice posted Friday by Osceola County at the request of State Rep. Fred Hawkins’ office says the bill will make sure Reedy Creek’s debts are paid by the district. And it will revise Reedy Creek’s authority over permitting and regulations.

Hawkins is a Republican from St. Cloud.

The governor’s director of communications tweeted about the proposed legislation saying, “The corporate kingdom has ended.”

Communications Director Taryn Fenske then posted the following blurb:

Here's a blurb posted by Gov. Ron DeSantis' office regarding proposed Reedy Creek legislation.
Communications Director Taryn Fenske
Here's a blurb posted by Gov. Ron DeSantis' office regarding proposed Reedy Creek legislation.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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