Florida safe and open economy under the epidemic Governor: usher in a fiscal surplus

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) delivers his welcoming remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 26.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) delivered a welcome address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday (Feb. 26).

He prefaced his speech by saying that despite “predictions of economic doom” during the coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s economy, which has remained safe and open, is finally running a “budget surplus.

Florida took the opposite path from other states in dealing with the Epidemic and did not take a lockdown approach to the economy, despite strong media and Biden administration opposition to Florida’s epidemic policy.

DeSantis said that now “our kids are in school and Parents are happy with that. Our economy is growing, and people have jobs to do. They predicted economic doom and gloom, especially in Florida, because we’re a tourist destination, but our tourism industry hasn’t contracted at all this year,” he said.

DeSantis said Florida received huge revenues and there was no tax increase.

DeSantis, 42, was elected governor of Florida in 2018 with the support of former President Donald Trump (R-Texas). His open economy policies are part of the reason CPAC chose Orlando, Florida, as the venue for its event this year.

“We are in the middle of an oasis of freedom in a country where there are repressive blockades everywhere,” DeSantis said in his speech.

“Look at the rest of our country, there are too many places where we see schools closing, businesses closing and lives being ruined. In the past year, while so many governors have continued to lock people out of their homes, Florida has let go of people and let them out.”

More than 30,000 people have died from coronavirus in Florida since the epidemic began. But according to the latest data from February, Florida’s percentage of all deaths from infection since the epidemic began last year is 9.7 percent, well below California’s 12.6 percent and the U.S. average of 12.2 percent; it is especially notable that Florida has the highest percentage of elderly people in the country and that it has not imposed a lockdown and strict restrictions on the epidemic like California and New York have.

Instead, many wealthy people have moved to Florida from New York and California. John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the U.S. supermarket chain and president of Gristedes Foods, told Fox Business’s “Mornings with Maria” on Feb. 16 that he sees Palm Beach, Florida, is coming to Life, a stark contrast to the empty city of New York City.

He questioned why New York and other states were still closed and what was “going on.

“Enough is enough. We have to open up the economy.” Kasimitis said, “We (the government) are hurting our citizens …… our children …… Florida schools are wide open… …and we’re putting all the small businesses in New York on the brink of bankruptcy, which is a crime in itself.”

So far, Florida has close to 100 percent of its students available for face-to-face learning, compared to 5 percent in California, which also has a much higher rate of viral pediatric infections.

DeSantis May Run for President in 2024 Concerned About Election Integrity
In his CPAC speech, DeSantis again addressed the issue of election integrity. He said Florida would introduce legislation to restrict mail-in ballots and drop boxes.

“By banning all ballot harvesting and prohibiting third-party political groups like the one funded by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg from interfering in our elections, (we are) leading the way in terms of governance.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis plans to run for re-election next year and is considered a possible presidential candidate for 2024.

He also mentioned that former President Trump was banned from using the platforms of social media companies and that he opposes the suppression by those social media companies.

“I will sign on to the most ambitious reforms proposed to date to fight political censorship and de-platforming and (prevent) big tech from interfering in our elections.” He said.