ORLANDO, Fla. — Three state senators said Monday they want residents and commercial property owners in Orange and Osceola counties to know that, under current law, their taxes would have to jump substantially if the Reedy Creek Improvement District is dissolved next year.

What You Need To Know

Democratic senators Linda Stewart of Orlando, Randolph Bracy of Orlando and Victor Torres of Kissimmee held a news conference at the Orange County Administration Building Lobby in Orlando to explain to property owners.

“The purpose of this press conference is to keep the light shining on what the impact is going to be if it goes through the way we understand it today and that is a huge tax increase to every property owner," Stewart said. "It would be residential and commercial. Whoever owns property will have to bear a huge additional tax.”

Reedy Creek Improvement District, which is the governing jurisdiction and taxing district for Walt Disney World, is scheduled to dissolve on June 1, 2023, after the state legislature passed a law in a special session and the governor signed it. 

This all comes down to the bond debt held by Reedy Creek which is estimated to be about $1 billion. As the law stands now, Orange and Osceola counties could have to take on that debt.

Critics say the bill passed by the Florida Legislature was in response to Disney voicing criticism over another bill passed into law, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Gov. Ron DeSantis had urged lawmakers to pass the measure dissolving some special districts.

Government law attorney Jacob Schumer told Spectrum News 13 that a 1967 agreement between the state and RCID requires any bond debts to be paid off before the district can be dissolved and its governing powers taken away.

But when asked about it in a Fox News town hall interview in Orlando on Thursday night, DeSantis said he and his legal team have it all figured out, though the claim ended up being light on details.

“The legislature did it starting next June because there’s going to be additional legislative action," DeSantis said. "We know what we’re going to do, so stay tuned. That will all be apparent.

“The bonds will be paid by Disney. They will be paying taxes, probably more taxes," he added. "They will follow the laws that every other person has to do, and they will no longer have the ability to run their own government."

As the law stands now, Orange and Osceola counties could end up being responsible for paying the debts, and that could force those counties to raise property taxes. The Governor’s Office has not released any details about the state’s plan, but Schumer said he can see a possible scenario in which the state could get around the original agreement.

“Whatever the governor does, it has to have all the same powers as Reedy Creek does right now,” Schumer said. “So it’s possible he could create some kind of substitute government entity, but it’s going to have to be essentially the same as Reedy Creek.”

Monday’s press conference comes on the heels of the Walt Disney Company's public relations chief, Geoff Morrell, announcing he is stepping down.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Morrell sent an email to staff on Friday, saying this job is not the right fit for several reasons.

He was hired as the public relations chief three months ago.

Curtis McCloud of Spectrum News 13 contributed to this reporter.