The firefighters who protect Walt Disney World made headlines when they controversially backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) takeover of the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), the special taxing district on Disney property. But now that alliance seems to be turning sour. At the CFTOD board meeting this week, a budget proposal was presented that would eliminate the Disney World park passes for all district employees.
“One firefighter who spoke during the public comment period in the meeting broke down in tears over the change, saying he otherwise couldn’t afford to take his family to the parks,” reported Politico’s Kimberly Leonard. Disney annual passes for Florida residents start at $749 plus tax per person for a weekday and weekend pass, meaning any RCFD firefighter with a family of four was getting a benefit worth thousands of dollars per year.
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The firefighters initially backed DeSantis because he had supported them in union negotiations with Disney. As I reported earlier this week, the new DeSantis board contends that the decades-old perks for district employees constitute a “kickback” to Disney.
my latest op-ed on #DisneyVsDeSantis …
Disney Firefighters Who Backed DeSantis’ Takeover of Tax District Shocked and Upset When Board Moves to End Their Park Passes https://t.co/deEF5lLNih
— Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) August 25, 2023
Pete Simon, a Reedy Creek firefighter, made a powerful statement during today’s CFTOD meeting about the impact of removing generational benefits for families.
“This week marks the first brick being pulled in the dismantling of the district … my only question is, what’s next?” pic.twitter.com/bzt8tW5fc8
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) August 23, 2023