Today Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill allowing the state of Florida to take control of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. In an apparent power move, the press conference was held at Reedy Creek Fire Station #4. The bill renames the district to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and DeSantis will appoint a five-member board to oversee the new district.
Names of board members to begin immediately are:
Chair of the board is Martin Garcia – Tampa lawyer who allegedly was also a large donor to the Florida Republican Party.
Bridget Ziegler who is a member of the Sarasota County School Board (one of the Parental Rights in Education authors)
Brian Aungst Jr – Pinellas County lawyer who had was previously on the Pinellas County Commission Redistricting Committee.
Ron Peri – CEO of The Gathering USA
Mike Sasso – Seminole County lawyer (who has been on DeSantis boards before.)
In a handout given to the media DeSantis’s team called this “Dissolving the Corporate Kingdom”
This is the paper that Governor DeSantis’s team provided to media at the Reedy Creek press event this morning. pic.twitter.com/st0OEDeBaA
— Anika Hope (@AnikaHopeTV) February 27, 2023
“DISSOLVING THE CORPORATE KINGDOM
In 1967, the Florida Legislature created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which gifted extraordinary special privileges to a single corporation. Until Governor DeSantis acted, the Walt Disney Company maintained sole control over the District. This power amounted to an unaccountable Corporate Kingdom.
Florida is placing the district into state receivership and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency.
ENDS DISNEY’S SELF-GOVERNING STATUS.
ENDS DISNEY’S EXEMPTION FROM THE FLORIDA BUILDING CODE AND FLORIDA FIRE PREVENTION CODE.
ENDS DISNEY’S EXEMPTION FROM STATE REGULATORY REVIEWS AND APPROVALS.
ENDS DISNEY’S SECRECY BY ENSURING TRANSPARENCY. ENSURES THAT DISNEY WILL PAY ITS FAIR SHARE OF TAXES. PREVENTS LEFTIST LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FROM USING THE SITUATION TO RAISE LOCAL TAXES.
IMPOSES FLORIDA LAW SO THAT DISNEY IS NO LONGER GIVEN PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.
ENSURES THAT DISNEY’S MUNICIPAL DEBT WILL BE PAID BY DISNEY, NOT FLORIDA TAXPAYERS.”
During the press conference DeSantis said that the new law would ensure Disney receives the same treatment at other theme parks in the area.
Today the Corporate Kingdom finally comes to an end. There’s a new sheriff in town and accountability will be the order of the day.
DeSantis thanks Jon Shirey, president of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Union and first responders. Shirey has been known for raising concerns to the media over the conditions their firefighters were facing.
Previously he told WESH:
“On a normal day, we would have four fire engines and eight ambulances running all of the calls that serve the entire Disney property. Right now, we have only two of our fire engines actually in service, one tower truck, and then we have another crew that’s running out of our heavy rescue which does not have firefighting equipment on there.
We’ve had multiple situations because of how poorly maintained our fleet of vehicles is, where an ambulance will break down en-route to critical calls. We had a cardiac arrest call where the responding rescue broke down and then we had to send a separate rescue to go in and fill in for him. We had an incident where one of our own firefighters got injured on the job and had to be transported and the vehicle broke down en-route to the hospital with him in it, so it’s a major safety concern for us.”
Another interesting point that DeSantis made was that Disney’s property taxes would be reassessed to ensure Disney is paying their fair share. Disney has disputed property assessments in the past and they even got a specific tax assessment method (the Rushmore Method) thrown out in court. Disney allegedly argued that their brand should not be taken into account for taxation, but they have no issue with charging exorbitant prices for hotels using their brand as the reason.
What do you think about the new accountability for Walt Disney World? Comment and let us know.
Sources: Orlando Sentinel, WESH 2
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