Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has laid out as one of his goals for the Florida legislature's special session a bill to abolish the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special taxing zone that essentially allows the Walt Disney World resort complex to act as its own local government. The move is intended to punish the Disney corporation for criticizing his infamous "Don't Say Gay" law, which limits the ability of teachers to discuss the existence of sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom.
But according to Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald, there's a bit of a snag in the proposal: abolishing the district involves paying Disney's $2 billion worth of bond debt from building the resorts — and to do that, families in Orange and Osceola Counties would have to pay thousands of dollars.
In other words, this bill intended to punish Disney would actually be a huge transfer of money to the company, at taxpayer expense.
Sen. @JeffreyBrandes asks: "My concern is this bill essentially wipes away Disneys' $2 billion of debt...if the legislative intent here is ultimately to attack them, then why would we want to cancel $2 billion of debt?"— Mary Ellen Klas (@Mary Ellen Klas) 1650414525
The special district bill, alongside a Republican gerrymandering proposal that would wipe out half the Black congressional districts in the state, come as Republicans escalate a culture war panic nationwide, introducing bills limiting classroom information on race and sexuality, and even seeking to purge books from libraries.