Floridians will suffer and will pay the price of Governor DeSantis’ senseless veto in rejecting $346 million from Feds


Ian Quartin

Governor Ron DeSantis’s political move of vetoing federal block grants and withdrawing from the energy-efficient rebate program not only harms Floridians facing rising energy rates but also undermines conservative principles of fiscal responsibility. The rejection of federal funds has direct and broader implications for Florida’s economy.

By rejecting federal funds that would have been directed towards energy efficiency initiatives, Florida experienced a significant loss of dollars ($346 million) that could have stimulated the state’s economy. The rebate program that DeSantis vetoed could have provided much-needed relief by offering financial incentives for energy-efficient investments, such as smart-home thermostats and energy-efficient appliances. These rebates would have enabled residents to lower their energy consumption and save on utility bills, thereby alleviating some of the financial stress they have experienced due to escalating energy rates.

By canceling these grants, Florida forfeits the potential economic benefits that would have been derived from such investments, including job creation, local business growth, lower energy cost burden on residents, and increased consumer spending. These funds could also have been allocated for upgrades to rural wastewater motors, improvements to pumping infrastructure, and consumer-oriented programs like rebates for energy-efficient appliances.

Canceling these grants means that federal tax dollars collected from Floridians will now be distributed to other states. This not only deprives Floridians of resources to address local needs but also restricts Florida’s capacity to invest in infrastructure, saving energy, and climate resilience measures, all of which are crucial for long-term economic growth and sustainability.

Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to combat rising temperatures, reduce energy costs for Floridians, and improve the competitiveness of Florida’s businesses. As temperatures continue to rise (Florida has broken temperature records in several places, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Florida Keys), building climate resiliency & energy efficiency are imperative.

It is important to note that these federal funds required no additional commitments from Florida’s budget. Rejecting federal funds that would have supported energy savings is not fiscally sound. By refusing aid from the Biden Administration, this move seems rather an attempt to position himself favorably to his base for his presidential aspirations.

It demonstrates a lack of leadership and prioritization for the well-being of all Floridians.

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About The CLEO Institute

Founded in 2010, The CLEO Institute (CLEO) exists for the sole purpose of building climate literacy and spurring climate action. As the only women-led nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Florida that is exclusively dedicated to climate change education, advocacy, and engagement, CLEO is viewed as the go-to regional source for credible, vetted climate science. The CLEO Institute is a 501(c)(3) working with communities across Florida to build climate literacy and mobilize climate action for a just, resilient future. Learn more at cleoinstitute.org.

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