SANFORD, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Monday that the state would take over Disney World's self-governing Reedy Creek district rather than handing control over to local governments.
The governor hinted at the development during a morning news conference in central Florida.
"Even though there are ways you could potentially have local communities absorb jurisdiction over Disney, after seeing them threatening to raise taxes on their citizens, we are not going to be in a situation where we’re just gonna be giving them locally control – more likely that the state will simply assume control and make sure that we’re able to impose the law and make sure we're collecting the taxes," DeSantis said.
He added that he was working on a proposal that could be considered by lawmakers after the November election.
This is the latest development in the ongoing back-and-forth between DeSantis and Disney.
DeSantis previously signed a bill into law dissolving the private government Walt Disney World controls on its property. The law eliminates the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the 55-year-old Disney government is known, as well as a handful of other similar districts by June 2023.
Critics claim the law was implemented to punish Disney after the company’s CEO, Bob Chapek, spoke out about the Parental Rights in Education Act, or what critics dubbed "Don't Say Gay." Some also argue that the move will have negative repercussions on taxpayers in Disney’s neighboring counties.
However, DeSantis made clear on Monday that Reedy Creek’s $766 million “debt will not end up going to any of these local governments.”
“It’s gonna absolutely be dealt with with the taxpayers who are currently in that district,” he said.
“Obviously with Reedy Creek, the path forward is Disney will not control its own government in the state of Florida,” the governor continued. “Disney will have to follow the same law that every other company has to follow in the state of Florida. They will pay their fair share of taxes and they will be responsible for paying the debts.”
You can watch the full news conference below.