With the Florida legislature voting to strip Disney of its self-governance status regarding the Disney World land, what might this mean for local governments?
The counties, on June 1, 2023, would assume all of Reedy Creek’s assets and liabilities and become responsible for providing all of the services currently handled by the district, CNBC reported.
Currently, Disney finances the services supplied by Reedy Creek, which would normally be funded by local municipalities. The company, instead, charges itself property taxes to finance its service and pays the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement.
Once Reedy Creek is dismantled, local taxpayers and municipalities would likely be responsible for those services.
’Removing district could transfer $2billion debt from Disney to taxpayers and could potential have an enormous impact on Orange and Osceola residents!’ State Sen. Linda Stewart, who voted against the bill, tweeted Wednesday.
However, Rep. Fine told Insider he believed taxes could go down because the measure was ‘eliminating a layer of government’.
Walt Disney World already pays property taxes to Orange and Osceola counties, so that would not change, however the counties would get to collect the tax revenue Disney currently pays to itself.
The transfer of revenues, services, and infrastructure from a private entity to a set of local governments might take some time to sort out. Who will be responsible for what? How do the revenues compare to the costs required? How does this require local governments to adjust?
Let’s say this process is a complicated one. Does this affect the experience of visitors to Disney properties or to local residents?
While this is a national culture wars story at the moment, it would be interesting to hear from local officials on what they think of this or how they anticipate this working out. Very few local officials would want to lose a major company from their land. Would they vote against their own local economic and political interests in the service of sending a message to Disney?