Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was very vocal in calling billionaire entrepreneur — and new Twitter owner — Elon Musk to come home to roost in the Sunshine State.
Gov. Ron DeSantis does not share Patronis’ enthusiasm.
At times, Patronis, a Panama City Republican elected statewide to the Florida Cabinet, has used his office to suggest that events or corporations, including other companies owned by Musk, relocate to the “free state of Florida.” Patronis’ latest effort was suggesting Musk move Twitter to Florida,
DeSantis told reporters Monday he isn’t advocating for Twitter to build a new Florida nest.
“Importing some tech company from San Francisco has not been high on our list,” DeSantis said. “I think that what happens is they’ll tend to come in; they drive up the cost of living for everybody else. OK, yeah, they enjoy our lower taxes, but what are they really providing?”
The Republican Governor’s comments came in response to a reporter in Jacksonville asking where in Florida he would want the company to relocate. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a DeSantis ally, tweeted at Musk Tuesday, telling the new Twitter owner to move the social media platform’s headquarters to his city.
Florida’s focus has been to attract businesses that produce things and grow vocational and career education, DeSantis continued.
“I would rather have folks, I’d rather have more industry, I’d rather have more jobs that will actually be rooted in this state,” DeSantis said.
Shortly after becoming a 9.1% shareholder of Twitter last month, Musk — viewed by some as a social media troll — floated the idea of converting Twitter HQ in San Francisco into a homeless shelter.
Florida’s Governor has had an adversarial relationship with Big Tech and Silicon Valley. After Twitter and other social media companies suspended then-President Donald Trump from their platforms following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection last year, DeSantis promoted an anti-social media “censorship” bill. The state filed an appeal to a federal court’s ruling against the measure.
DeSantis also signed election laws banning “Zuckerbucks,” the private funding named after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for officials to operate elections.
The Governor acknowledged Florida and Musk already have a working relationship, with SpaceX using Cape Canaveral as one of its major launch sites. And when Musk first chirped up about his offer to become Twitter’s majority owner, DeSantis lauded his effort, saying the billionaire entrepreneur could “liberate” Twitter from being the government’s “agent of censorship.”
“I’m very supportive of what Elon Musk is doing,” DeSantis said, “because I think that platform has been used really as a tool to enforce narratives and to stifle dissent when it was born to be an open platform.”
Plus, the Governor estimated Musk’s purchase of Twitter had helped the state pension fund with a profit of as much as $20 billion.
“We’ve done very well with finance and some of these other things here in Jacksonville,” DeSantis said. “But in terms of bringing a Twitter from San Francisco to Florida, that’s not something that I’m advocating.”