End of Reedy Creek: Disney won't pay more taxes, but you willDissolving Disney's special district gives them a $163 million a year tax cut. Is that what you want Visitor?
One of the biggest myths circulating on the internet is that the end of Reedy Creek will finally force Disney to pay its fair share of taxes, boosting the economies of Florida and the counties its resorts are located in.
Let's dispel that rumor right now: not only is it wrong, it's the opposite that will take effect.
This much is true: the Reedy Creek Improvement District is an extension of Disney that shields the company from oversight others have. The theme park operator taxes itself and gives itself permission to build whatever, wherever so long as it follows building codes and other state and federal laws.
What Reedy Creek isn't is a replacement for the counties it exists in. Disney still pays the same property taxes levied by the government and the school district that every other landowner pays. Orange County, for example, collected $40 million from the House of Mouse in 2021, Tax Collector Scott Randolph (D) said.
So, how does Reedy Creek operate its own fire and sewer departments? The special tax district status allows Disney to levy an additional tax on itself to pay for those services. The tax, amounting to $105 million per year, is ILLEGAL anywhere else in the county, along with the additional $58 million per year the company taxes itself to pay off Reedy Creek's bond debt.
When the district is dismantled on June 1, 2023, Orange County will begin paying for those services and paying off the debt, without that special status in place.
"The moment that Reedy Creek doesn't exist is the moment that that those taxes don't exist," Randolph said. "Orange County can't just slap a new taxing district onto that area and recoup the money that was lost."
Effectively, Disney's loss of control also hands it a $163 million per year tax break. Orange and Osceola County taxpayers will shoulder the hit alone, leaving both counties staring at financial ruin.