Some U.S. states are still dealing with the negative economic fallout and repercussions of the extended lockdowns and business restrictions that were imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but Florida isn’t one of them.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) held an event Friday to share the positive news of the Sunshine State’s incredible economic growth and overall fiscal health in comparison to other states, the national average in key metrics, and the nation’s capital of Washington D.C., the Tampa Free Press reported.
That good news is largely because, in contrast to many Democrat-run states, Republican-run Florida only briefly locked down and imposed minimal restrictions over the virus, was among the first few states to fully reopen, and since then has led the way in terms of an economic rebound.
Job growth and increased revenue
Gov. DeSantis delivered a positive assessment of his state’s financial situation in West Palm Beach at a Retro Fitness gym, a company that moved to Florida from the New York/New Jersey area during the height of the pandemic to escape the harsh business restrictions and has since seen its Florida gyms outperform all of its other locations across the nation.
“By keeping our economy open, maintaining a low tax environment, and being fiscally responsible, Florida’s budget reserves have never been stronger,” DeSantis said. “While Washington, D.C., has consistently gotten things wrong, Florida has consistently done things right.”
The budget reserve mentioned by the governor stands at a record $20 billion, a figure that doesn’t include any federal funds and is driven by the fact that Florida’s revenue has topped even pre-pandemic estimates by more than $8 billion.
It also stems from 24 consecutive months of job growth in the state at a rate more than double the national average, 0.7 percent compared to 0.3 percent, and an unemployment rate that dropped to 3.0 percent in April compared to the 3.6 percent national average, making 17 months straight that Florida has remained below the national average in terms of state unemployment.
Tourism to Florida has surged substantially
Gov. DeSantis also touted the success seen about tourism in his state and announced the record-breaking news that more than 36 million people had visited Florida just between January and March of this year, which is 14 percent higher than the total number of visitors over the final quarter of 2021 and the third quarter in a row that the number of visitors has exceeded the numbers seen before the pandemic.
That surge of visitors to the open-for-business Sunshine State helped increase the state’s share of foreign visitors to 44.6 percent of all overseas travelers to America. That figure is more than 10 points higher than the previous record of 34.1 percent held by New York and is exactly double New York’s current second-place 22.3 percent share of the market of international visitors.
Earned the right to celebrate success
Gov. DeSantis has every right to cheer the great economic news and positive future outlook for his state as he has consistently stood strong to do what he believed was right while simultaneously withstanding incessant and withering attacks from Democrats and the political-media establishment.