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State of Florida Posts Record $21.8 Billion Surplus, Highest in State History

Published: July 8, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium on June 08, 2022 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Governor spoke about the recently signed state budget that had more than $1.2 billion for Everglades restoration and the protection of Florida’s water resources. (Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The state of Florida, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis since 2019, has posted a record budget surplus of $21.8 billion for the 2022 fiscal year, the highest recorded surplus in state history. 

Per a press release published on June 7, DeSantis said the surplus is more than 21 percent higher than the state’s spending plan.

Taxes collected by the state in May were $742 million above estimates and preliminary data for June is indicating tax collections may exceed estimates by approximately $950 million. 

“Despite the headwinds created by the Biden administration’s policies, Florida is in a strong fiscal position because we preserved freedom and kept our promises,” DeSantis said adding that, “Our responsible policies have allowed us to make record investments to support our communities, promote education, protect the environment, and provide record tax relief for Floridians, all while building record reserves to protect the state against the reckless fiscal policies from Washington.”

The surplus includes a record $15.7 billion in unallocated general revenue, $2.8 billion in unallocated trust funds and $2.7 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the “Rainy-Day Fund.”

Also contributing to the record windfall is a near $500 million that has been allocated to the newly created Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.

The state is also enjoying record employment growth and historically low unemployment.

Florida’s unemployment rate is at 3 percent, 0.6 percent below the national rate. Florida’s unemployment rate has been trending below the national average for 18 consecutive months and has declined or remained steady for 22 consecutive months. 

In the 12 months between May 2021 and May 2022 Florida’s total private sector employment grew by 313,000 jobs, 3 percent faster than the national rate of 2.2 percent over the same period.  

For the period from May 2020 to May 2022, Florida employers have consistently posted new jobs for 25 consecutive months. 

DeSantis raises more than $100 million for his reelection bid

DeSantis is riding a wave of wins after he shattered national fundraising records as he seeks a second term, CNN reported. 

The governor is attracting massive amounts of Republican donor money as rumors of a 2024 presidential run swirl. 

By the end of May, DeSantis had a whopping $111 million more than any candidate “has ever needed to win an election in the Sunshine State,” CNN reported and the donations keep pouring in. 

To date, DeSantis has dismissed questions about his future political ambitions recently telling Fox & Friends, “Nice try,” when he was asked whether or not he intends to mount a campaign against former President Donald Trump. 

Despite DeSantis shying away from committing to a 2024 run, he continues to collect donations from every corner of the Republican party.   

According to CNN, “he has received millions in donations from Trump’s biggest financiers, such as Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, powerhouse Republican backers Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, and retired capitalist William Buckley.”

In addition, megadonors, who didn’t support Trump, are lining up to support DeSantis, including billionaire Ken Griffin, who recently announced he was moving his investment firm from Illinois to Florida. 

An individual involved in Republican fundraising in Florida told CNN, that it’s expected DeSantis will raise around $200 million in this cycle alone and that he would need less than half of that for his Florida reelection bid. 

“That will leave DeSantis with at least $100 million in seed money for a super PAC to support a White House bid, giving him a financial head start that at the moment is only rivaled by Trump’s own fundraising machine,” CCN reported. 

As of May, Trump’s Save America PAC had $106 million in its coffers.