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The Villages
Sunday, December 10, 2023

DeSantis’ foolhardy legislation and upcoming fundraiser

Miles Zaremski

The state’s governor has an upcoming fundraiser event early next month in The Villages at the Brownwood Hotel and it struck me that those ponying up their hard-earned cash to attend may not realize that they are spending good money after bad in order to back a political candidate that just signed a whopper of a foolhardy piece of legislation that in 2023 takes away the Reedy Creek District that the Florida Legislature established in the 1960s to enable the Disney Co. to operate as, basically, its own municipality and taxing body, including the provision of essential services like fire and police.

But now DeSantis has told residents – a lot no doubt his voters – of the two counties where Disney operates that they will have to fork over thousands more in property taxes that the Disney Co. has paid itself, amounting, according to published reports, to some $163 million annually. But the carnage does not stop there. The law that Florida legislators also passed creating Reedy Creek provides that it cannot be eliminated unless and until all debt obligations are retired. The debt presently is $1 billion, again per published reports.

So Mr. Governor, how do you intend to tell your voters, including those that will be attending your funder here next month, that taxpayers already socked with high inflation, gas prices, etc., can also afford an increase in property taxes plus retiring the Disney debt bill? All this is best captured by the famous line from the Tom Hanks’ movie, Forest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.” PS, I will NOT survey anticipated legal challenges since the DeSantis bill is unconstitutional.

Miles Zaremski is a resident of the Village of Dunedin.

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