New Details: Republican Bill Marco Rubio Supports Could Spike Property Taxes And Leave Floridians On
April 26, 2022 For Immediate Release Contact: Grant Fox GFox@floridadems.org 301-461-5435
Last week, Marco Rubio came out in support of Florida Republicans’ new law that could lead to a major tax increase on Florida families. See below for more details on just how much the plan Rubio supports could cost Floridians.: WFTV: End of Reedy Creek: Disney won’t pay more taxes, but you will
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.
Despite zero debate or public comment, and the near-total opposition of Central Florida’s delegation to this maneuver, Orange and Osceola County taxpayers will shoulder the hit alone, leaving both counties staring at financial ruin.
“I don’t see how Orange County doesn’t raise property taxes by 20% to 25%,” [Orange County Tax Collector Scott] Randolph said. “That’s what [the county] would probably have to do to cover this financial situation.”
The second effect: making businesses think twice about moving jobs to Florida, knowing the state could change the rules overnight if an executive has a different opinion than a politician.
A repeal of Disney’s self-government status in Florida could leave local taxpayers with more than $1 billion in bond debt, according to tax officials and legislators.
If the special district is dissolved, Orange and Osceola counties would have to provide the local services currently provided by Reedy Creek. And, the $105 million in revenue would disappear, meaning county and local taxpayers would be on the hook for part or all of the added costs.
But legislators and tax experts warn the bill creates an even larger potential problem for taxpayers in the form of bonds totaling more than $1 billion. Reedy Creek has bond liabilities of between $1 billion and $1.7 billion, according to the district’s financial filings. Under Florida statute, if Reedy Creek is dissolved, those liabilities are transferred to the local governments — either Bay Lake or Lake Buena Vista, or more likely, Orange and Osceola counties.
If the liabilities of $1.7 billion or more are transferred to Orange and Osceola counties, he said, the debt could amount to $1,000 per taxpayer. “If the counties are left holding the bag, the state might have to come to their aid,” Farmer said. “So it’s not even just a tax issue for these two counties. It affects every taxpayer in the state of Florida.”
It is an over $160,000,000 obligation, which officials say they do not have the money to cover. "Worst case scenario, Orange County's going to find themselves in a $163 million dollar hole that they've got to fill that they may not even be able to fill with property taxes even if they raised it to the maximum level allowed," Randolph said.
"Orange County's government may have to raise property taxes 20 to 25 percent, and I'm not even sure they could do that because they may hit the mileage cap under state law," Randolph said.
Orange and Osceola counties will also likely be forced to assume Reedy Creek’s debts—which total nearly $1 billion, per credit analysis firm Fitch Ratings—and Reedy Creek currently generates $105 million in tax revenue for itself every year that won’t get transferred to the counties if it dissolves.
Orange County tax collector Scott Randolph tweeted the county will take on an extra $163 million in costs per year, between Reedy Creek’s missing tax revenue and its debts, and Randolph told WFTV the county will likely have to raise property taxes by 20% to 25% to make up for it.
Reedy Creek also employs hundreds of workers who could now lose their jobs, and Disney will have to go through additional government red tape for things like construction approval that they could previously just greenlight themselves.