TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Florida’s economy is booming, and the state’s unemployment rate is near a historic low.
That was at the heart of Governor Ron DeSantis’ annual address. He said while death and taxes are guaranteed, Florida should have an asterisk.
“No, we can’t forestall Father Time, but we can say with certainty that we won’t have an income tax. Or a death tax,” DeSantis said Tuesday from the chamber of the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee.
DeSantis made sure to thank his wife, first lady Casey DeSantis, for her work to tackle mental health and substance abuse issues across the state.
Health care is an important issue in Florida, and the governor said the "patient savings" concept put in place last year is using price transparency to lower costs for patients.
“One major initiative was to provide access to cheaper prescription drugs by bringing in safe, name-brand drugs from foreign markets such as Canada,” DeSantis said.
That requires federal approval, but DeSantis said the Trump administration is on board.
On education, the governor touted Florida’s universities and focused on the importance of vocational studies for students who choose not to attend college.
He also repeated his plan to give new teachers in Florida a raise.
“I am recommending we take a bold step of setting a minimum salary for public school teachers at $47,500, bringing Florida from the bottom half of states to number 2 in the nation,” DeSantis said. “This will make it easier to get talented college graduates to enter the profession and will help us retain many of the good teachers we have now.”
And the governor said his administration remains focused on protecting Florida’s environment. That includes fortifying areas that are prone to flooding and rooting out the state’s invasive species.
“Key water projects are proceeding apace, including the EAA reservoir, which will be a welcome relief to so many Floridians who have been negatively impacted by things like blue-green algae,” DeSantis said.
The governor said the state is even on offense against the epidemic of non-native Burmese pythons that have ravaged the wildlife in the Everglades.
DeSantis finished his address by saying there is still more to achieve for our state.
“There is no reason why we can’t seize this moment and deliver for the people of Florida,” DeSantis said.
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