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DeSantis credits a record budget surplus to a free and open state

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Gov. Ron DeSantis is crediting a combination of growth, tax reform, and record tourism for the $21.8 billion surplus in the Fiscal 2021-2022 Florida state budget. The surplus is the highest in state history, and is more than 21 percent above the state budget for the fiscal year, the Governor’s office said.

“And part of that is because we have had the state free and open,” DeSantis said during a July 8 press conference in Cape Coral. “We’ve done very well economically – we’ve outpaced the nation in jobs and labor force growth.”

DeSantis also credited the state’s “record” tourism with helping to fuel Florida’s fiscal surplus.

“A lot of the reason that we have this surplus is (that) we’re cutting taxes, but we have this money coming in because the people from other states and the foreigners that come to visit are paying the sales tax,” DeSantis said.

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Finally, during the press conference, DeSantis promised to propose increased funding in key items for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We’re gonna do more for education, we’re gonna do more for infrastructure and we’re gonna do even more for significant tax relief,” DeSantis said.

According to a July 7 statement from DeSantis’ office, the state’s unemployment rate has remained steady at 3.0 percent – 0.6 percent points lower than the national rate – and Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate for 18 consecutive months since December 2020.

Meanwhile, Florida’s total private-sector jobs grew by 459,500 jobs or 5.9 percent between May 2021 and May 2022 beating the national private-sector job growth rate of 5.1 percent over the year, and the state’s private-sector job growth rate exceeded the nation’s for 14 consecutive months since April 2021.

Specifically, the surplus includes $2.7 billion in Florida’s Rainy-Day Fund (Budget Stabilization Fund), $15.7 billion in unallocated General Revenue, $2.8 billion in unallocated trust funds and $499 million in the newly created Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund, the statement said.

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