Original Article By Alex Galbraith At OrlandoWeekly.com
A federal judge has tossed the first challenge to Florida’s law dissolving Disney’s Reedy Creek special district.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of residents of Orange and Osceola counties argued that the dissolution would result in increased taxation for residents forced to bear maintenance costs formerly handled by the Walt Disney World theme park. The judge dismissed the case on two grounds.
The first stated that the issue at hand was a state-level problem, and the federal court was the wrong venue for the case. The second argued that the plaintiffs did not have standing, as they could not prove any injury to themselves. The law has yet to take effect and the tax structure of a newly non-independent Disney World is not certain.
“Plaintiffs’ theory of standing is that the elimination of the Reedy Creek Improvement District might result in financial harm to Plaintiffs by virtue of a tax increase that has not yet been enacted,” U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga wrote in dismissing the case. “That indirect and highly speculative alleged injury cannot support federal jurisdiction.”
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Where you fall on the “who will pay for it?” spectrum is largely a matter of political leanings. If you believe and support Gov. Ron DeSantis, you likely follow his reasoning that Disney will bear any increased costs. Local officials such as Mayor Jerry Demings, who has a history of contentious debate with GOP administration in Tallahassee, has warned that the potential burden to taxpayers could be catastrophic.
Disney itself has shared that the state can’t dissolve Reedy Creek without first paying off all of its bond obligations, money that would necessarily come out of state coffers full of taxpayer money.