DeSantis’ Disney plan leads to legal swamp, higher costs

FILE – A statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse stand near the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

(NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to strip Disney of its self-governing ability by dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District has passed, but the next steps are complicated, confusing and costly.

Disney says a clause in its original contract leaves Florida responsible for its $2 billion bond debt. Those bonds funded the expansion of Walt Disney World Resort and were seen as a safe investment at the time. But now that debt falls on taxpayers from two Florida counties — who are on the hook for an extra $2,800 each.

Writer Sarah Rumpf spoke to NewsNation’s Dan Abrams about the confusion and frustration. “Everyone I talk to about both counties are freaked out, because they have to start cutting budget somewhere or they have to start cutting services,” she said.

Rumpf says the Desantis Disney drama could have played out very differently. Instead, Desantis’ new law raises many legal concerns about why and how the district will be dissolved. Legal experts say conducting a state study to learn about Reedy Creek would have avoided all this.

The district is expected to be dissolved in June of next year, with 400 employees losing their jobs and benefits.

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