Inflation is plummeting across America except in Ron DeSantis’ Florida
Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct an original version that mistakenly claimed State Farm insurance is pulling out of Florida. Farmers Insurance is the insurance company that is pulling out of Florida.
Americans learned Wednesday morning the rate of inflation nationally has dropped dramatically, to just 3% annually, down from over 9% one year ago.
But not in Florida, which MarketWatch reports “has the highest inflation in the U.S.”
For much of the year, even before his presidential campaign officially launched, Ron DeSantis has been traveling the country, promoting his book and giving speeches in battleground states. But, as Newsweek reported in April, “some of the governor’s critics have suggested he is forgetting his own constituents in an attempt to increase his name recognition.”
Even before then, The Miami Herald Editorial Board in February asked simply, “When is Florida’s governor actually going to govern?”
The second-ranked GOP presidential candidate has been focusing on culture war issues, including so-called “parental rights” and “education” laws that target LGBTQ children and people of color, along with banning abortion and drag shows, his fight with his state’s largest employer, Disney, and chasing – if not flying – undocumented workers out of the state.
How bad is it?
Marketwatch notes that “the rate of inflation in the Tampa Bay region was the highest in the country. Prices rose an estimated 7.3% from June 2022 to June 2023, well above the 3% rate for the nation as a whole.”
Last month as well, inflation was huge across much of Florida.
“Residents in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area saw prices shoot up 9% in May compared with a year earlier. By comparison, nationwide inflation for the same period was less than half that rate, with prices rising 4% in May compared with a year earlier,” CBS News reported on Tuesday. “People living in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area have it slightly easier, with inflation rising at a 7.3% annual pace, but that’s still much higher than the U.S. as a whole.”
“Florida’s inflation rates are skyrocketing and the state now leads the nation thanks mostly to the rising cost of housing,” NBC Miami reports Wednesday.
In fact, many reports point to housing prices, which shot up 55% in Florida since the start of the pandemic, compared to 40% nationwide, CBS noted.
What has DeSantis done about the cost of housing and home insurance, which have been a disaster in Florida?
The Florida governor “and his political action committee have received millions of dollars from insurance stakeholders as he has overseen massive giveaways to the insurance industry, according to a new report. Florida homeowners, meanwhile, face ballooning insurance prices and are under increasing economic strain in one of the states hardest hit by climate change,” The Intercept reported in May.
“The governor’s committee and the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC raked in $3.9 million from the insurance industry since its formation in 2018,” the site noted, pointing to a report from “Hedge Clippers, a campaign organized by the Center for Popular Democracy.”
Floridians got more ban news on the insurance front Wednesday.
Farmers Insurance is pulling out of the state, “to effectively manage risk exposure,” the company said.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, however, disagreed.
He “dissed Farmers as ‘woke,’ promised to investigate and accused the company of playing politics,” Local 10 News reported.
Another large contributor to price increases for Floridians is DeSantis’ campaign to purge undocumented workers from his state.
As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, DeSantis recently signed into law draconian legislation that “makes it a third-degree felony for unauthorized people to knowingly use a false identification to obtain employment. Businesses that knowingly employ unauthorized workers could have their licenses suspended, and those with 25 or more employees that repeatedly fail to use the E-Verify system to check their immigration status can face daily fines.”
DeSantis’ “new law requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to question a patient’s immigration status, and invalidates out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to people unauthorized to be in the U.S. It makes it a third-degree felony to knowingly transport into Florida a person who is undocumented and illegally entered the U.S. The law also adds $12 million to the amount of money the state has earmarked for its migrant-relocation program, bringing the total to $22 million this year.”
That loss of often low-paid workers is making it even harder for construction companies to complete projects and farmers to get crops picked. The Journal’s report quoted construction workers who say about half of the people they used to work are gone.
It’s not clear how it’s going to get better with a governor focused on maintaining his culture war bona fides and his presidential campaign schedule.
“Thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s war on LGBTQ people, public schools, and educational curricula, Florida stands to lose massive amounts of convention business,” The American Prospect reported last week. “Much of that lost business, ironically, is concentrated in places like Miami and Orlando, which don’t share DeSantis’s views. The latest to pull out is the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, which had planned a fall convention for Miami, and has now moved it to Chicago, incurring a stiff penalty from the hotels.”
The Prospect adds that “lots of groups far removed from politics want to disassociate themselves from DeSantis’s crusade. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has moved its planned 2027 Global Surgical Conference & Expo from Orlando to Philadelphia. Around 7,000 nurses and exhibitors will no longer be helping the local economy. The organizers of Con of Thrones, a convention for fans of the HBO fantasy epic, canceled their Orlando convention, planned for the Hyatt Regency Orlando in August. The National Society of Black Engineers will also not be coming to Orlando in 2024, for a convention that would have brought 15,000 to the Sunshine State.”
And “Disney itself has canceled a billion-dollar investment planned for an Orlando office park, which would have relocated or created some 2,000 jobs with an average salary of $120,000.”
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