Gov. Ron DeSantis personally put the $1,000 bonuses for first responders into recipients’ hands at an event in Jacksonville on Monday, the first checks to be distributed.
The money, which will go to nearly 100,000 first responders and police officers across the state, comes from the federal government as part of the COVID-19 stimulus funds, which DeSantis has railed against as the main source of inflation.
Anyone employed in law enforcement, fire rescue and as an emergency medical technician as of May 1 is eligible.
DeSantis pushed for the bonuses last year because of the work police and first responders did responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. He decided to ask lawmakers again this year to approve the bonuses.
“It’s a tough job, but since COVID, needing to flex and put themselves out there — we thought last year this was something that was appropriate to do to show support,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said the checks, included in the budget passed by lawmakers in May for the fiscal year that began July 1, will be issued in the next two weeks. The actual checks will be more than $1,000 to ensure the recipients get $1,000 after taxes, he added.
“(The federal government is) unleashing 87,000 IRS agents on the public very soon so we don’t want you to get caught up,” DeSantis said, referring to the new federal law beefing up Internal Revenue Service ranks to increase tax code enforcement.
DeSantis also mentioned the announcement comes one day after the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93. He lauded the bravery of first responders that day and noted Florida is the top spot for retirees from the New York City police and first responder agencies.
“If you look at the folks who were in 9/11 or in the various agencies in NYC, the people that have left the tri-state area on retirement overwhelmingly choose to come to Florida. I mean it’s not even close,” DeSantis said. “That’s something that strengthens our communities.”