Florida’s Misuse of Inflation Reduction Act Funds Exposed

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Why the Inflation Reduction Act is Significant for Florida’s Low-Income Citizens

In a recent episode of Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, Shapiro branded the Inflation Reduction Act as a “boondoggle.” But, is it really? This article seeks to provide a balanced view of the Inflation Reduction Act and its relevance to low-income households in Florida.

Did you know that Florida missed out on approximately $350 million from the Inflation Reduction Act? On the table were federal block grants aimed at assisting low-income citizens in upgrading their appliances to electric, insulating their homes for maximum energy conservation, and more. However, two of these grants, worth $29 million, were vetoed by Governor Ron DeSantis, resulting in the cancellation of grants totaling $346 million. What makes this move baffling is that utilizing the Inflation Reduction Act funds wouldn’t burden Florida’s budget and could potentially boost job creation in the home-improvement industry.

The irony of this veto is that it coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act’s passage and the 60-year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Such an act could have greatly helped uplift low-income households, by helping to make their homes more energy-efficient. It’s a harsh reality that escaping poverty remains a tremendously challenging task for families living in low-income neighborhoods.

Contrary to popular belief, the Inflation Reduction Act is not about handing out money aimlessly. It’s about providing vouchers for specific home improvements, making homes healthier and more efficient. A recent report from Greenlink Analytics revealed that energy burden—the percentage of income spent on electricity and gas bills—varies significantly across communities in Orlando, ranging from 1.8% to a staggering 9.2%, well above the national average of around 4%. The Inflation Reduction Act seeks to address such disparities and help low-income communities reduce their energy burden.

One might argue that Governor DeSantis’s veto is an exercise of fiscal conservatism. However, these federal appropriations present an opportunity to support all Florida citizens, particularly the vulnerable. As put in Psalm 41:1, “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak.” Let’s hope that the decision to veto these much-needed home improvements is reversed.

About the author: Jeff Dorian co-leads the Orlando Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for legislation to mitigate climate change. The organization hosts volunteers from across the political spectrum.

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