Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said that his state does not need or want any of the federal funding being provided to states through the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.
The IRA includes language that allows governors to block some of the programs included within, if they wanted to, and DeSantis has reportedly exercised his rights to do that. His refusal could significantly diminish the impact that the liberal legislation could have on the country, just as Democrats are banking on that to propel them to victory in the next election cycle.
DeSantis announced recently that he would be refusing to accept a lot of the funding that was allocated to Florida. Specifically, he refused to accept the $5 million meant to set up as part of a rebate program that would reimburse consumers who purchased either appliances that are energy efficient or who do work to retrofit their houses.
The Florida legislature made the request for the funding, according to Politico, but DeSantis vetoed that request.
By blocking that $5 million, DeSantis has also effectively blocked the $341 million that was allocated to fund the rebate program. That’s because in order to get the money, the state would need to apply for it – which the $5 million was meant to do.
In addition, the Florida governor vetoed another $24 million of grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as $3 million of IRA funding that would’ve helped the state fight pollution.
He also rejected a program called Solar for All, which was meant to help low-income households gain access to solar panels.
Politico reported that the Biden administration has tried to come up with ways that they could work around the blockade DeSantis has set up for the energy rebate program. To this point, though, they haven’t been able to come up with any solutions.
The Biden administration has decided not to criticize DeSantis’ decision publicly just yet. Politico reported that the White House might be taking that stance in hopes that the governor would change his mind before the program ends in August of 2024.
As Michael Kikukawa, a spokesman for the White House, said:
“It’s unfortunate that some officials are putting politics ahead of delivering meaningful progress for hard-working Americans. Despite this, President Biden and his administration are working with cities, counties, businesses, nonprofits and other entities in the Sunshine State to ensure Floridians benefit from the lower costs and stronger economy delivered by his agenda.”
Florida’s energy office already specifically requested the funds, and the state’s legislature already approved it as well, which is giving the White House some hope that DeSantis might change his mind at some point.
Florida will be getting some IRA funds, though, despite this blockade that DeSantis set up. That includes $3.75 million that will go toward building access to nature and urban tree canopies, another $209,000 to control pollution, and finally $78.7 million that will help various entities work to prevent climate change.