Governor DeSantis Signs Reedy Creek Bill Into Law
After months of public debate over the future of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Governor Ron DeSantis signed new legislation into law today at the Reedy Creek Fire Department. The district has been officially dissolved.
“Today the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end,” the governor announced.
What Will Change
While the final bill will leave much of the Reedy Creek infrastructure in place, the new law will change the name of the district. It will also shift oversight from Disney to the State of Florida.
Following DeSantis’ signing of the bill, the district will be renamed the “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District”. Additionally, the five person board that oversees the district will now be appointed by the governor.
At his press conference today, DeSantis announced the new board members, Martin Garcia, Bridget Zeigler, Brian Aungst, Mike Sasso, and Ron Peri, who will oversee the Oversight District.
Additionally, the new bill means that the district will have to report its budget and finances to the state.
The final bill comes after months of public sparring between Disney and DeSantis that came to a head following the company’s public opposition to the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act. At his press conference, DeSantis referenced the controversy.
“We had a little bit of a tussle last year over school legislation,” DeSantis said. “If you’re going that way as a corporation, those are not the values we want to promote in the state of Florida.”
He said, “So we believed being joined at the hip with this one California-based company was not sustainable.”
In the end, however, Disney is not challenging the new law and instead will work within the new framework.
Upon the bill’s passage earlier this month, Disney released a statement:
“For more than 50 years, the Reedy Creek Improvement District has operated at the highest standards. We appreciate all that the District has done to help our destination grow. And become one of the largest economic contributors and employers in the state. We are focused on the future and are ready to work within this new framework, and we will continue to innovate, inspire and bring joy to the millions of guests who come to Florida to visit Walt Disney World each year.”
What About the Debt
Those opposed to dissolving Reedy Creek had warned that residents in Orange and Osceola counties would be saddled with the district’s $1 billion debt. The new law, however, specifies that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District will assume that debt.
In the end, while much will be made of the end of Reedy Creek, in many ways things will be business as usual for Disney and Florida.
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