Florida - Economy - DeSantis In this file picture, Johnna Nieves, left, and Idalia Nuñez, right, of the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando, Florida. Nonprofit organizations are also starting to run into trouble, with soaring food and gasoline costs.
Image via AP Photo/John Raoux), file.

From July 1-7, outdoor recreation and entertainment items will be tax-free in Florida.

For the many Floridians having to choose between paying rent, gas, or even groceries, the second annual Freedom Week will bring little relief.

¿Y qué pasa con eso? Well, in 2021 Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law, which provides a sales-tax break on outdoor recreation and entertainment items such as kayaks, bicycles, sleeping bags, and movie or concert tickets.

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​​But to an average family, what’s it worth to have discounts on snorkels, goggles, life jackets, coolers, or even a paddleboards or kayaks, when they can’t even fill their car with gas or pay their rent?

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), Florida gas prices are now 66% more expensive than a year ago. 

But instead of giving people relief at the pump now, DeSantis plans to give that discount in October, closer to midterm elections.

“At every turn, Gov. DeSantis sides with corporations over consumers, puts profits over people, and donors over Floridians. The result: an unaffordable Florida,” says Rep. Charlie Crist, who’s running in the Democratic gubernatorial primaries.

Housing is another major issue for Florida residents as rent has increased from 25 to 33% in some counties. Democrat lawmakers have urged DeSantis to declare a state of emergency over the housing crisis, that will allow enacting consumer price protections for tenants. 

Instead, DeSantis decided to use $100 million destined to build affordable housing to offer a mortgage program but only to Floridians who work in specific sectors.

Rising food prices are also squeezing Floridians. Not only are they affecting families’ grocery bills, but also restaurants and nonprofit organizations that run food banks, such as Boricuas de Corazón Inc.

The Department of Agriculture has already warned that this year the prices of groceries will continue to rise, and they will be even more expensive near the end of the year.

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However, all of Florida’s Republican representatives voted against the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which seeks to lower food and gas prices. It was passed by Democrats.

“We have real issues that need to be addressed, and the governor is chasing boogeymen,” said Rep. Carlos G. Smith, who has criticized DeSantis’ priorities.