DeSantis vs. Disney: Central Florida Democrats warn of tax hikes after Reedy Creek district is dissolved

Democratic lawmakers representing parts of Orange and Osceola counties say they will continue to fight a new law pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to end Walt Disney World's special Reedy Creek Improvement District.

"The governor will establish a new district, that's our latest word, under the general-purpose government controlled by the governor," said State Senator Linda Stewart, D-Orlando.

She said she has briefly talked to Disney and believes they may have a legal path forward.

"It rises to a lawsuit, it really does. They have to make that decision. What type of lawsuit are they going to challenge the statute, are they going to challenge their first amendment right," she added.

Disney self-governs Reedy Creek. Disney said the district cannot be dissolved until the state pays off all its bond debts which are upwards of a billion dollars.

"The bonds will be paid by Disney. They will be paying taxes, probably more taxes," said Governor Ron DeSantis at a FOX News Town Hall last week. He claimed he would introduce new legislation to keep Floridians from paying the bond.

The governor signed the bill after Disney's CEO spoke out about the passing of the "Parental Rights in Education Act" which critics call the "Don't Say Gay Law."  

Democratic lawmakers said as the legislation stands now, the costs will end up with the people who live in Orange and Osceola counties.

"Disney is not the one being punished by this bill. The thousands of workers are. The taxpayers of Orange and Osceola are going to be punished," said State Senator Victor Torres, D-Kissimmee.

He said the burden would fall on those who live in the counties which Reedy Creek would dissolve into.  

The numbers are still being calculated but the Orange County Tax Collector previously said residents and businesses could see their property taxes increase by $250 a year.