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DeSantis sketches out his 'boldest set of proposals'

Chris Day
Fresh Take Florida
Gov. Ron DeSantis has started highlighting places where the state could increase spending during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

Touting record budget reserves, Gov. Ron DeSantis is already planning where Florida could spend some extra cash next year.

DeSantis, moving through the pesky re-election process, has started highlighting places where the state could increase spending during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

“Clearly, we're going to do more for education,” DeSantis said during an appearance Friday in Cape Coral. “We’ll do more for infrastructure. We're going to do even more significant tax relief. So, stay tuned for all of that.”

Speaking Tuesday at the Florida Teacher of the Year Conference in Orlando, DeSantis said next year will feature “the boldest set of proposals that we’ve had yet.”

“I think a lot of you are going to be very excited when we start rolling out, you know, what can we do, yes, for teacher compensation,” DeSantis said to the gathered educators. “What can we do to help recruit additional folks into the profession? What can we do to reward teachers who really go above and beyond?”

The state’s reserves have been bolstered by federal stimulus money and higher-than-anticipated state tax revenues. By the DeSantis administration’s calculations, the state had a $21.8 billion surplus during the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

But while promoting future spending, DeSantis said reserves are needed to counter “problems coming out of Washington, D.C.”

“If you look at the inflation that people are suffering under, this is the worst inflation we've seen in 40 years in this country. It was something that did not have to happen,” said DeSantis, who is widely considered a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate.

DeSantis and many other Republicans blame at least part of inflation --- with prices up 9.1 percent from a year ago, the highest rise since 1981 --- on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a stimulus law signed by President Joe Biden amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement Friday, Biden credited the law for helping put people back to work, as a new report showed 372,000 jobs added in June, up from 275,000 economists had expected.

“This has been the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history, and it would not have been possible without the decisive action my administration took last year to fix a broken COVID response, and pass the American Rescue Plan to get our economy back on track,” Biden said in a statement.