By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE PLACE DU CENTER CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Florida’s commitment to freedom, conservative governance, economic opportunity, and a focus on “facts, not fear” have helped it become one of the fastest in the country, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican often at odds with the Biden administration, said.
As other states grapple with higher unemployment, supply chain disruptions and economic decline, Gov. DeSantis said his new budget puts “freedom first”.
“In Florida, we put freedom first by protecting the freedom of Floridians to earn a living, operate businesses and choose educational options suitable for their children,” Governor DeSantis said during the announcement. from the budget. “Because of our commitment to freedom, Florida’s economy continues to thrive and Floridians are better able to provide for their families. This budget puts Floridians and their freedoms first, keeps taxes low and addresses key priorities, while maintaining record budget reserves. “
“Despite dire projections two years ago, Florida’s economy has thrived,” the budget summary said. The state’s revenue exceeded pre-pandemic estimates by more than $ 3 billion in fiscal years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, and its stable AAA bond rating has also remained the same.
The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 is $ 99.7 billion, with the general revenue portion amounting to $ 37 billion and total state reserves at $ 15.3 billion. of dollars.
The budget includes four tax exemptions and proposes to eliminate the $ 25 state fee for obtaining a Florida ID card.
In recent years in particular, Florida has remained a top destination for Americans moving from the highest-taxed blue states. Its per capita tax collection of $ 2,086, the lowest of any state, and the absence of personal income tax remain key factors for those who move.
The $ 1.172 billion tax cut program includes four tax holidays: a fuel tax holiday, a seven-day Freedom Week tax holiday, a 10-day back-to-school tax holiday, and a 10-day tax holiday for disaster preparedness.
The proposed fuel tax holiday is expected to save Florida families $ 1 billion by reducing the fuel tax by 25 cents per gallon in an attempt to offset rising gasoline prices.
According to the proposal, the proposed seven-day sales tax holiday for Freedom Week is expected to save Florida families $ 57.4 million. During the tax holiday, Floridians would not have to pay taxes on tickets to events, museums, the arts and certain outdoor recreation purchases up to a certain amount under the plan.
According to the proposal, the proposed 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday is expected to save Florida families $ 72.9 million. The tax holiday covers clothing up to $ 60, school supplies up to $ 15, and the first $ 1,000 of personal computers and related accessories.
The proposed 10-day tax holiday for disaster preparedness will also save Florida families $ 11 million, according to the budget summary. It covers disaster related items like generators costing $ 1,000 or less.
The budget also proposes to permanently eliminate the $ 25 fee charged by the state to obtain a Florida ID card, which is expected to save Florida families $ 14.7 million. The budget maintains the revenue of local tax collectors by redistributing a portion of Class E driver’s license fees, according to the plan.
Florida Democratic Representatives Angie Nixon, Michele Rayner, Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna V. Eskamani argued the budget does not go far enough to fund public education, affordable housing, social services and other priorities, reported The Floridian.
“The governor’s budget offers a few long-standing Democratic demands, but it’s not enough,” Ms. Nixon said, according to the publication.
However, according to a recent CATO Institute report “Freedom in the 50 States,” Florida leads the United States with the best overall fiscal policy and is the most economically free state.
Florida ranks first in the country for fiscal policy due to its low tax burden, low public debt, higher ratio of private to public employment, and related fiscal decentralization fiscal policies.
As residents of other states suffer from ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, “Floridians are back to work, school and life with loved ones,” the governor’s office said. Highlighting last month’s job growth rate, which was six times faster than the nation’s, Governor DeSantis says his policies are working and benefiting Floridians.
“Our job growth rate is six times faster than the rest of the nation because we have worked hard to keep Florida open and protect the jobs of individual Floridians,” Gov. DeSantis said during the announcement. November labor force data released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “Because we have protected their livelihoods, Floridians are confident that they will find work and run their own businesses. We will continue to focus on the foundation of our state’s freedom to ensure that Florida remains a leader in economic growth and that Floridians are able to succeed. “
In total, Florida has gained 1,162,700 private sector jobs since April 2020, the department reports, accounting for “93.5% of jobs lost during the pandemic that have been recovered.”
“Florida continues to see significant increases in (its) labor force, increasing by 607,000 during the year as more Floridians are confident of returning to the workforce,” the agency adds.