Image via Shutterstock Under Gov. Ron DeSantis, unemployment benefits have not been raised in 24 years, among other issues plaguing the Sunshine State.
Image via Shutterstock

Here’s how the state has fared under 20 years of Republican leadership in taxes, health care, housing, unemployment benefits, and gun safety.

Some people claim they “don’t believe in politics,” while some say that is like saying “I don’t believe in gravity.” That is because whether you believe in politics or not, the laws that politicians vote to pass, or vote not to pass, affect every single aspect of your life: How much you pay in taxes, who you can marry, the quality of your health care, how safe are the schools your children attend, and even the cost of your medications.

Two Decades Under the GOP

For 20 years, Florida has had a Republican Legislature, meaning that the GOP controls the offices of governor (Ron DeSantis), secretary of state (Wilton Simpson), attorney general (Ashley Moody), and both the upper chamber, the Senate, and the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

Forgetting partisanship, let us look to the facts, plain and simple, to find out how Florida has fared under 20 years of Republican leadership in taxes, health care, housing, unemployment benefits, and gun safety.

The Sunshine State ranks 45th in tax fairness.

Florida’s reputation as a “low-tax” state ignores the fact that it is a high-tax state for low- and moderate-income residents. Research conducted in 2018 by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows that Florida’s tax system remains among the most inequitable in the nation. Those earning less than $18,700 contribute 12.7 percent of their incomes to state and local taxes, while those with incomes of more than $548,700 contribute just 2.3 percent of their income.

It also ranks 47th in benefits for those who lose their jobs.

Despite inflation and the higher cost of living, Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to increase Florida’s unemployment benefits from a maximum of $275 per week, a cap that was set in 1998. Adjusted for today’s dollars, that would come to $485 maximum per week. Democrats pushed to raise benefits to $575 per week, but state Republicans rejected the proposal. In 2021, DeSantis even rejected a bid by his own party to increase benefits by $100 per week, to $375. The nationwide average is $475.

RELATED: Who Is Matt Gaetz and What Does He Really Stand For? Take a Look at His Voting Record.

Florida ranks 41st in access to health care.

One of the reasons is the Republican leaders’ unwillingness to expand Medicaid, despite almost a million Floridians without health coverage.

Republican leaders have expressed no interest in expanding Medicaid, despite the fact that if they had chosen to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal government would have allotted the state more than $3 billion in incentives over the next two years.

“Affordable health insurance for all Floridians should be a no-brainer. But under Gov. DeSantis’ Florida, the Republican-led Legislature continues to turn their backs while millions of Floridians go uninsured. It’s unconscionable,” tells US Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running to unseat the Republican contender in November.

Florida is now America’s least affordable place to live.

Years of “sweeping” money from the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund to fund other things have resulted in 94,000 foregone affordable housing units, says the Florida Housing Coalition.

A sad statistic: the state ranks 2nd in mass shootings.

More than 2,568 people are killed every year by gun violence, yet Republican leaders fail to support common-sense legislation like universal background checks for gun buyers, preventing domestic abusers from access to firearms, ending the sale of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and funding locally driven violence prevention strategies.

RELATED: De Santis’ New Law Requires Students to Observe ‘Victims of Communism Day.’ State Democrats See the Irony.

“I think it’s really important for voters to know that right now we have a governor [Ron DeSantis] that is not putting the safety of Floridians first, and a senator, Marco Rubio, who is choosing millions and millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association (NRA), instead of choosing to work to protect the lives of children in our community,” former Democratic US Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a longtime gun safety advocate, told Floricua.

Save the Dates!

This year the midterm elections will be held on Nov. 8, and the primaries on Aug. 23. The deadline to register to vote in the primaries is July 25, and the deadline for the elections is Oct. 11.

Facts are facts: How you vote in the upcoming elections, will help decide how Floridians will fare in the coming years.

“You need to vote out the people who are making your life miserable, who are making your life tough,” says Boricua Democratic Sen. Víctor Torres. “En la unión está la fuerza.”