On Tuesday, a court rejected a lawsuit challenging the Florida GOP’s governor, Ron DeSantis, over his law eliminating special treatment provided to Disney World.
DeSantis had signed Bill 4-C, which mandated Disney to follow building and planning and zoning rules in Osceola and Orange counties on April 22. The legislation will be enforced in July 2022.
“I’m just not comfortable with that sort of agenda obtaining special treatment in my state,” DeSantis remarked when the bill was signed.
The Walt Disney World Reedy Creek Development District, which provides utilities and other services to the resort, was formed on May 12, 1967. JUN 4-C is aimed at the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which manages Walt Disney World’s utilities and other services. Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista were established on that date.
“Reedy Creek, with a population of around 50 people, fire department and its own board of supervisors, allows Disney to build new structures and expand its parks without being required to adhere to county or state construction, wastewater management, or drainage regulations,” according to The Wall Street Journal. It incorporates two water parks, four theme parks, a sports complex, hotels, shops, and restaurants.
“You won’t see potholes when you drive up to Walt Disney World since the county doesn’t have to wait for them to be fixed. That’s because Disney isn’t obliged to wait for the county to come mend them,” David Ramba said. “Reedy Creek is without a doubt one of Florida’s most efficient local governments since it is not a typical bureaucracy. It functions very much like a company does.”
The bill reads, “Any independent special district that was established by a special act before November 5, 1968 and which has not been re-ratified, reestablished, or otherwise reconstituted by another special act or general law after that date shall be dissolved effective June 1, 2023.”
Residents of Osceola and Orange counties filed a lawsuit in May challenging S.B. 4-C, which they claimed threatened citizens with higher taxes and infringed on their free speech rights, according to Fox Business.
The plaintiffs “do not plausibly argue that they have suffered any actual harm as a result of Disney’s alleged infringement of its First Amendment rights, and there is nothing in the Complaint that suggests that Plaintiffs have a personal relationship with Disney,” said Altonaga.
“Because the plaintiffs do not claim direct harm as a result of the challenged legislation and do not plausibly allege any real credible threat of direct harm in the future, SB 4-C does not apply to them,” Altonaga continued.
According to the Journal, “The district’s tax and fee revenue was $153 million in fiscal 2021, with Disney ‘providing most of the $153 million in earnings from fees and taxes that the district collected,’ according to a Reedy Creek School District financial report. That money covers all of the district’s governing expenses, including paying about 400 workers’ salaries and servicing about $977 billion in long-term bond debt that it has issued over time.”