Florida Senate Votes to End Disney World’s Self-Governance

The Reedy Creek Improvement District—the land outside Orlando on which Disney World sits—is an independent tax district that is also allowed self-governance

Florida’s state Senate has passed a bill that would eliminate an independent tax district that allows Disney World—one of Florida’s biggest employers—to privately govern the land that it owns, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Florida House is expected to also approve the measure.

The movement in the Legislature shows that Florida Governor Rick DeSantis is getting desperate in his battle with Disney Co. over his “Don’t Say Gay” law, as he had urged lawmakers to repeal the rule. Should the bill pass, it would seriously affect how Disney operates in Florida.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District—the land outside Orlando on which Disney World sits—is still, for the moment, an independent tax district. Not only does it save tens of millions in county and state taxes every year, it is also allowed self-governance, with its own fire and police departments. Reedy Creek/Disney World is also exempt from many state and local rules when it comes to building codes and fees, as well as the environment, with its own services for zoning, utilities, and infrastructure, according to KTLA.

“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what [Florida lawmakers] are going to be considering this week,” DeSantis said at a news conference, referencing Disney’s governing district without mentioning the company by name. “And so, yes they will be considering the congressional map, but they also will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968, and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”

The Florida legislators’ sudden burst of defiance in the face of Disney’s gargantuan coffers sure smells like punishment, as the entertainment hive decided just weeks ago that it was “pausing” all political donations in Florida to show its opposition to the law.

The “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibits teachers having classroom discussion about sexual identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.