Loose monetary policy and ample stimulus spending from the federal government allowed Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign the biggest budget in state history, but he expects dire consequences down the road nationally.
“The bill’s going to come due somehow,” DeSantis predicted.
The Governor, addressing media in New Smyrna Beach Wednesday after signing the $101.5 billion budget, expressed concerns about deficit spending and the larger macroeconomic consequences, which a Governor can’t really control.
“One of the things I’m concerned about, if you look at what’s going on with the overall macroeconomy across the country, is inflation,” DeSantis said. “And if you look at gas prices, these things are going through the roof compared to where they were a year, year and a half, two years ago. That is going to pinch a lot of folks. And so I hope that can be kept in check.”
However, DeSantis said there wasn’t much he could do.
“Obviously, a state government, this is kind of more involved in federal policy at this point. But that’s a big, big problem.”
While “good things are going on in Florida,” DeSantis worries “about some of those macroeconomic signals that we’re seeing in the economy.”
Those signals, DeSantis said, were consequences of deficit spending during the pandemic.
“And look, in the last 15 months, this federal government has added more to the debt than we’ve ever seen since World War II in such a short period of time. And my view on that is something’s got to be done. There’s got to be; the bill’s going to come due somehow. Whether it’s higher interest rates, higher inflation, I’m not sure, but it is a concern when you look around and see the gas prices.”
Unemployment in April was 4.8%, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Expect that number to surge, DeSantis warned.
“I think what you’re going to see is we have more job openings than I think; I mean, you guys are probably looking for folks. I’ve never seen an issue wherever I go in any part of the state,” he said.
“Every single person will come up to me who has a business and say I need people, I need to hire,” he said.
DeSantis noted that reinstated job search requirements, a condition of re-employment assistance, will provide incentives “to get more people back in the workforce.” But that too will come at the cost of a (hopefully temporary) spike in the jobless rate.
“But as you have more people look, you may see the rate go up because some of the people who are kind of out aren’t counted, but then I think you’re going to see it go down,” he said.