ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – A group of central Florida lawmakers thinks they’ve figured out Governor Ron DeSantis’ end game when it comes to his high-profile battle with Disney over its self-governing district.
While the governor has yet to release a plan for the future of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, they said they are hearing that he plans to create a new district that would be under his control.
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“The governor’s actions on Reedy Creek was purely retribution,” said state Senator Randolph Bracy.
The nearly 60-year-old special district acts as a governing body for the land where Walt Disney World sits. During a special session in April, the state’s legislature passed a hastily proposed law to dismantle the district. This was after Disney took a stance on the Parental Rights In Education Law, dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ by critics.
“I didn’t like the way this was introduced in 12-24 hours to dismantle the Reedy Creek Improvement District over a difference of opinion on a social issue. Freedom of speech still exists. I say leave it alone, leave Orange and Osceola County alone and there’s just nothing broken,” said state Senator Linda Stewart.
The lawmakers are calling the decision reactionary and that it will be followed by consequences for residents of those two counties.
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Reedy Creek is set to be dissolved on June 1st, 2023.
While the DeSantis administration hasn’t said what comes next, Stewart said she heard the governor has something in mind.
“The governor will establish a new district, that’s our latest word under the general-purpose government, controlled by the governor with appointments by the governor,” she said.
Stewart said if this is the case, Florida taxpayers will become responsible for Reedy Creek’s more than a billion dollars of debt.
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“Turning it over to Orange County and Osceola County would create the largest property tax increase in our history. We don’t want that to happen, residents don’t want that to happen,” said Stewart.