By Lydia Nusbaum
May 20, 2022 Updated 11:10 A.M. ET
WEST PALM BEACH (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida will have $20 billion in reserves, making it the largest budget surplus in the state’s history.
“We’ve never had a stronger fiscal position in the state’s history,” DeSantis said.
An infographic presented shows that Florida had 0.7% job growth while the U.S. at large had .3%.
DeSantis said most of that $20 billion includes unallocated general revenue. It also includes over $3 billion for a rainy day fund, half a billion dollars set aside for disasters, and some money unallocated for state trust funds.
“This would not have happened had we listened to the people who were criticizing us for keeping businesses open, keeping people employed, keeping kids in school, those were obviously the right decisions.”
The Governor said Florida would be prepared if a “Biden-induced” recession occurred as inflation and gas prices hurts the pockets of every day Americans.
Florida is also now registering almost 45% of the US market share for international tourism.
“So not only is this the highest market share in the country, it’s a higher market share than any state has ever recorded,” DeSantis said. “I think that shows these foreign travelers, okay, where are they going. They’re overwhelmingly wanting to come and vacation in Florida. And so we’re proud of that.”
Florida’s private sector growth has exceeded the nation’s for over a year. DeSantis said the state’s labor force grew by 30,000 people while the nation as a whole lost 363,000 people from the workforce. Florida is now the 15th largest economy in the world.
“As your workforce is expanding, and your unemployment rate is dropping, that’s when you know that you have a lot of opportunities,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis focused his message Friday on Florida’s decision to keep businesses open during the pandemic and to give people the freedom to make their own decisions.
“I can tell you one of the reasons why we’ve done so well is because people can come here and you can go where you want,” DeSantis said.
He criticized states that require vaccine passports. Florida was the first state to reopen schools. At the press conference, business owners shared their gratitude to Governor DeSantis for keeping businesses open.
“People can come here. You can do what you want. You’re not going to get shaken down to produce medical papers at the front of a restaurant,” DeSantis said.
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