News and Analysis

Florida’s Senate Passes Bill To End Disney’s Self Governance

   DailyWire.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 09: A view of the Walt Disney World theme park entrance on July 9, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The theme park is scheduled to reopen on Saturday despite a surge in new Covid-19 infections throughout Florida, including the central part of the state where Orlando is located.
Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images.

Florida’s Republican-led Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that eliminates a special taxing district that allows Walt Disney Co. to govern the land where its theme park is located. (Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for children’s entertainment content.)

“The measure potentially delivers a blow to the company’s operations in the state,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The special district, created in 1967 and known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, exempts Disney from a host of regulations and certain taxes and fees related to emergency services and road maintenance.”

The report noted that the special taxing district reportedly saves Disney tens of millions of dollars per year.

The bill now heads to Florida’s Republican-led House where it is expected to pass. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has already signaled that he will sign the bill into law.

“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference last month. “I think what has happened is there’s a lot of these special privileges that are not justifiable, but because Disney had held so much sway, they were able to sustain a lot of special treatment over the years.”

Disney’s ability to govern the area was created when the Reedy Creek Improvement Act was signed into law in May 1967. The local government did not have the resources needed to help bring Disney’s 25,000 acre plan to fruition so the Reedy Creek Improvement District was established to give Disney the same authority as a county-level government.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls noted that the decision to push the legislation came in response to Disney opposing the “Parental Rights in Education” bill.

“They used their platform to perpetuate what we believe to be a lie, which is that the bill did one thing that it really didn’t do at all,” Sprowls said. “I think the governor’s anger was well placed.”

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This report has been updated to include additional information.