Governor DeSantis is highly focused on economic development and job creation in Florida. Since 2019 Florida added more than 2.7 million new businesses. From October 2022 and October 2023, Florida’s private sector job growth added 252,900 jobs. Florida’s private sector year-over-year job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s for 31 consecutive months. Digital Project Manager named Florida as the most entrepreneurial state in the nation with 13,238 small businesses per 100,000 residents. Small businesses are generally the backbone of local economies. They generally employ and provide goods and services for the needs of the local citizens. This has been recognized by Florida leaders with small business proposed funding, workforce proposed funding, and proposed affordable housing fund which will help achieve Florida’s continued success and job creation.

Job growth is a result of pro-economic development plans and policies for sustainable growth and targeted plans that focus on new job creation and the global promotion of Florida. The proposed economic development initiative includes $100 million to the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund which provides economic growth in Florida by providing funding for proposed public infrastructure and workforce training projects. There is $105 million proposed for Visit Florida which is Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation. Also proposed is $175.2 million for the third phase of the State Small Business Credit Initiative which provides Florida’s small businesses with access and resources for additional growth and support funding.

With tremendous focus on job creation, Governor DeSantis has proposed additional funding and emphasis on additional and modern infrastructure. Which includes the support of local rural infrastructure projects such as roads, stormwater systems, wastewater systems, and telecommunications facilities with funding of $25 million to the Rural Infrastructure Fund. The proposed budget includes $100 million for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program which supports broadband expansion of high-speed internet access and installation to Florida communities. There are $88.1 million dollars for the Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) allocated for small county governments in repairing and rehabilitating county bridges, funding for addressing road-related drainage improvements, resurfacing or reconstructing county roads, constructing capacity and/or safety improvement to county roads and paving unpaved roads. Also, The Small County Road Assistance Program was proposed for $26.5 million to assist small county government in resurfacing or reconstructing county roads.

One of Florida’s primary focuses is growth which will create a high demand for affordable and available housing for Florida families. With that anticipated need, Governor DeSantis has proposed funding for several programs that focus on housing expansion and growth. The State Housing Initiative Partnership program received proposed funding of $208.6 million. The State Apartment Incentive Loan program was proposed for $89.5 million and there was a proposed allocation of $100 million to the Hometown Heroes Housing program.

The state’s primary goals and proposed funding have provided an excellent model for strategic planning focused on growth and expansion. It also provides outstanding examples of anticipated funding needs caused by the growing pains of expansion for local communities. On August 2024 & November 2024, I hope you will vote for those individuals who want sustainable growth and expansion and also place the community’s anticipated needs at the forethoughts of their decisions. Wishing you all a Happy & Prosperous New Year! I will leave you with those thoughts and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.