The Florida Legislature has moved to officially strip Disney of its self-governing status, according to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office.
The state Legislature announced Friday that it is ending the self-governing status of the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), where Walt Disney World is located.
DeSantis signed legislation stripping the company of its special tax status in April, Slay News reported at the time.
The move came following the company’s public opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Bill, which DeSantis signed into law.
“This company had a deal unlike any company or individual in all of the state of Florida, probably anywhere in the United States,” DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson at the time.
“They were self-governing, they had extraordinary powers, they could build nuclear power plants, they didn’t have to go through permitting processes and obviously a lot of tax benefits. And that’s just inappropriate.”
Gov. DeSantis & Tucker Carlson Discuss FL's Battle w/ Woke Disney
Gov: "So their hope was getting Disney involved in that would somehow get me to back down from signing the bill. Well, that was bad judgment on their part because of course we weren't going to back down an inch." pic.twitter.com/G5gkry2W4d
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) April 23, 2022
A notice was placed on the Osceola County website on Friday.
The notice states that Disney’s self-governing status in the RCID would be replaced with a state-run board.
The RCID is located in parts of Osceola and Orange counties.
The company would also be required to pay $700 million in accumulated debt, according to sources in the governor’s office, Fox News reported.
“The corporate kingdom has come to an end. Under the proposed legislation, Disney can no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes,” Communications director Taryn Fenske said in a statement.
“Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”
JUST IN: Gov. DeSantis' office announces plan for state-controlled board to take over Disney's "special district", ensuring the corporation can no longer control its own government and is treated the same as other companies.
Statement from Communications Director Taryn Fenske: pic.twitter.com/P4GElrWvli
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) January 6, 2023
Disney had held its self-governing status since 1967, when Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, allowing Disney to act as its own quasi-governmental territory.
Under this status, Disney was allowed to build roads and buildings without state authorization.
Since residents of Orange and Osceola County, where the theme park is located, did not pay taxes for these services, some were worried that residents would be on the hook for an enormous sum of money should the special status be revoked.
The state’s decision to set up a state-run board is meant to address these concerns.