Hey there readers, brace yourselves because we’re about to embark on a journey through the not-so-sunny side of the Sunshine State. As inflation rates across America see a long-awaited drop to a mere 3% annually, Florida is charting its own path, led by the state’s own Ron DeSantis.
That’s right! As the rest of the nation breathes a sigh of relief, Florida has found itself grappling with the highest inflation in the US. It seems Governor DeSantis has been too busy globetrotting, promoting his book, and rallying his base in key battleground states to notice the economic pressures mounting in his backyard.
While the governor’s adventures have earned him the runner-up spot for the GOP presidential candidate, they’ve also spurred criticism from those who question when he’ll step up to address the issues in his home state. His primary focus? Culture war issues, from parental rights and education laws targeting LGBTQ+ children and people of color, to banning abortion and drag shows, and taking on Disney, the state’s largest employer.
But let’s turn our attention back to Florida’s “inflation hotspot” status. In Tampa Bay alone, prices saw a staggering estimated 7.3% increase from June 2022 to June 2023. The rate is more than double the national inflation. Similar trends were witnessed across Florida, with a notable 9% price surge in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area.
The principal culprit? Skyrocketing housing costs have shot up 55% in Florida since the pandemic started, compared to 40% nationwide. Now, here’s where it gets sticky. Governor DeSantis and his political action committee have been profiting from these woes, receiving millions of dollars from insurance stakeholders, all while overseeing massive giveaways to the insurance industry. A little salt in the wound for homeowners battling ballooning insurance prices and an increasing economic strain.
And as if that wasn’t enough, state insurance heavyweight State Farm Insurance announced it’s pulling out of Florida, supposedly to “manage risk exposure.” DeSantis’ campaign to purge undocumented workers from his state isn’t doing his constituents any favors either. Draconian legislation punishing businesses that employ unauthorized workers and patients without proper immigration status is pushing low-paid workers out of the state. This is exacerbating workforce shortages, hindering construction projects, and crippling the farming sector.
But hey, Governor DeSantis is too busy maintaining his culture war credentials and plotting his presidential campaign to notice the economic disaster unfolding in his state. His war against LGBTQ+ people, public schools, and educational curricula is causing Florida to lose substantial convention business. Organizations are pulling out of planned events, costing the local economy dearly. Even Disney scrapped a billion-dollar investment planned for an Orlando office park.
All of this paints a grim picture of Florida under DeSantis’ reign. As the rest of America navigates out of the inflation quicksand, the Sunshine State remains stuck, with its governor seemingly more invested in divisive politics than steering his state toward prosperity.