The Republican-controlled House gets the bill on Thursday.
The Florida Senate passed a bill instilling Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Congressional map but it also eliminates Disney’s special tax district allowing the company to self-govern the area that houses the theme parks.
The House will receive the bill on Thursday. Republicans also control that chamber.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) was formed in 1967. Walt Disney pushed for the formation because he did not like businesses and other places popping up near his dynasty. It encompasses the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista along with unincorporated land. Landowners elect the Board of Supervisors who govern the district. The five members are senior Disney employees.
Disney employees and their immediate families reside in the cities so the population of the district is small. But the district includes “4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 1 sports complex, 175 lane miles of roadway, 67 miles of waterway, the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, an environmental science laboratory where the continuity of water quality is monitored, an electric power-generating & distribution facility, a natural gas distribution system, water and wastewater collection & treatment facilities, a solid waste and recyclables collection & transfer system, plus over 40,000 hotel rooms and 100’s of restaurants and retail stores.”
The website provides details on how they govern the district. But right now the district is exempt “from a host of regulations and certain taxes and fees related to emergency services and road maintenance.”
If the bill passes the district’s jurisdiction might go to Orange County or Osceola County:
“It is difficult to estimate what a dissolution of [Reedy Creek] would cost Disney over time,” said Michael Rinaldi, head of U.S. Local Government Ratings at Fitch Ratings. It “would eliminate access to tax-exempt debt issuance via [Reedy Creek], potentially costing Disney and other landowners within the district more to finance various projects,” he added.
Disney employs nearly 80,000 people in the state, mostly at its theme parks and resorts. It is also a significant driver of the tourism industry in Orlando, Fla. According to Visit Orlando, tourism to the area contributes $5.8 billion in local and state tax revenue yearly when operating at full capacity.
It’s doubtful the dissolution will affect Orlando, the surrounding areas, and Florida in general. People will still go to Disney World even if Disney says it has to hike up prices because of the bill.DONATE
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