Central Floridians will likely see their property tax bills increase by $500-$1000 as a result of this "punishment" for Disney's opposition to DeSantis' homophobic agenda.
April 23, 2022

I'm not sure how dissolving Disney's "special status" in Florida is supposed to somehow punish the company for having grudgingly and slowly opposed Gov. Ron DeSantis' homophobic political agenda. Still, that's what DeSantis and Florida Republicans are trying to pass off as retaliation towards the company, but the real pain will be inflicted on citizens in the two adjacent counties in the form of a sharp increase in tax bills.

Disney exists in its own self-governing district called Reedy Creek, providing its own roads, infrastructure, buildings, etc, as long as they meet state codes. Reedy Creek funds government services like fire, water, sewer, etc. itself. The district brings in $105 million in revenue to pay for it.

Dissolving that special status has severe tax implications, not for Disney, but for Floridians in Orange and Osceola counties.

According to CNBC:

On top of the $105 million, Disney also pays local property taxes. Public records show Disney is the largest taxpayer in central Florida, paying over $280 million in property taxes to the counties between 2015 and 2020.

If the special district is dissolved, Orange and Osceola counties would have to provide the local services currently provided by Reedy Creek. And, the $105 million in revenue would disappear, meaning county and local taxpayers would be on the hook for part or all of the added costs.

...

Reedy Creek has bond liabilities of between $1 billion and $1.7 billion, according to the district’s financial filings. Under Florida statute, if Reedy Creek is dissolved, those liabilities are transferred to the local governments — either Bay Lake or Lake Buena Vista, or more likely, Orange and Osceola counties.

If Reedy Creek has as much in bond liabilities as tax experts and Florida legislators expect, it could cost the taxpayer as much as $1000 more in taxes per year that would be transferred to them.

This bill was passed in the legislature with zero public debate or input, and at lightning speed. They took three days to do this, and instead of punishing Disney, Republicans are handing them a huge tax break to the tune of $163 million they no longer have to raise. And the party that swears it's against raising taxes is forcing ordinary Floridians to foot the bill.

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