Higher wages, lower costs, and an affordable future for all Floridians.
As inflation cools around the rest of the country, Floridians are dealing with “Florida-flation”: Florida is now America’s inflation hotspot, largely driven by housing costs. The cost of housing and insurance are at the top of Floridians’ list of concerns. Floridians are feeling the economic squeeze as we confront the highest housing costs for renters and homeowners alike, the highest auto insurance premiums, and a manmade property insurance crisis where Floridians are paying four times the national average. Florida just isn’t affordable for Floridians anymore.
But rising costs are only one side of “the Florida squeeze”: the other pressure is coming from a job market in Florida that has not kept pace. Florida’s weekly average wage continues to lag behind the national average. And Florida ranks 36th in the nation (15th worst) in household income, more than $9,000 per year below the national average.
So why should we call all of this “Florida-flation”? Because this situation in Florida is the result of policy choices made by our governor and Florida’s legislature. And our leaders need to be strategic and intentional about addressing these issues.
From property insurance to utility rates, healthcare costs to unemployment reform, affordable housing to protecting democracy, and safeguarding unions—here’s a comprehensive plan to address these pressing issues.
Bring Down Property Insurance Costs
Floridians deserve reforms right now to our property insurance market that put consumers first by providing coverage that is available, affordable, and accountable to the policyholder.
To make homes more resilient and affordable, consistent funding for the My Safe Florida Home Program is crucial. By prioritizing this program, we not only enhance safety but also lower property insurance rates. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation must play a pivotal role in scrutinizing insurance rate hike applications to protect consumers. Additionally, reviewing Citizens Property Insurance’s underwriting standards and making flood zone insurance optional for those outside designated areas will contribute to fair and affordable insurance.
Bring Down Out-of-control Utility Rates
Electric bills should reflect fair pricing, not subsidize political activities. Strengthening the Florida Public Service Commission and appointing commissioners committed to consumer interests over utility executives and shareholders can ensure fair regulation. Banning utilities from passing lobbying costs to customers through industry associations will further protect consumers. Moreover, preventing the privatization of municipally-owned utilities, including water, is essential to maintain control over utility costs.
Make Healthcare Affordable For Floridians
Expanding Medicaid is a crucial step in making healthcare accessible to all Floridians. Accepting Federal funds and ensuring Medicaid covers those who need it most will create a healthier Florida. More than 300,000 youth aged 20 and younger have been removed from Medicaid after the ending of federal provisions that allowed families with low income to keep their health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care advocates across the state have called on Florida to pause disenrollments until considerable system improvements can be made. No one should go without medical care due to financial constraints.
Fix Florida’s Broken Unemployment Insurance Program
The unemployment insurance program is a safety net for Floridians in times of need. It is long past time to update the benefit amount, which has remained stagnant since 1998. Modernizing unemployment benefits is essential so that a lost job doesn’t become a one-way ticket to poverty. Ending the freeze on payments and addressing the program’s issues will ensure it works effectively for all Floridians.
Bring Down The Cost of Housing
Affordable housing is a cornerstone of an affordable Florida. Encouraging regional zoning rules for more affordable housing units and reducing the cap on property taxes from 3% to 2% will ease the burden on renters and homeowners alike. Addressing the property insurance crisis will also contribute to a more affordable housing market.
Make Florida Affordable by Protecting Florida’s Democracy
A thriving democracy is essential for making Florida affordable again. Whether we’re from a big city or a small town, we know what’s best for our communities. That’s why we are fighting to preserve our local freedom to choose what’s best for us, so the working people and small businesses that power our economy can continue championing solutions for the places we call home without politicians in Tallahassee and corporate elites in boardrooms sticking their noses into our affairs.
Upholding citizen-led ballot initiatives and respecting constitutional amendments are crucial steps. Ensuring the decisions made through the amendment process, such as those related to the minimum wage, are upheld promotes responsive governance. Adhering to local ordinances approved by voters enhances conditions for working families.
Protect Unions, Worker Safety, and Wages
Hard-working Floridians should be able to provide for our families and pay our bills without having to worry. State government should support Floridians by making sure good workers can get good-paying jobs. But instead, politicians in Tallahassee have sided with giant corporations and billionaires to pass anti-worker laws that attack our worker unions and keep our wages low.
Democracy in the workplace, facilitated by strong unions, is vital for a growing middle class. Allowing union organizers to hold free and fair elections without interference is a democratic right that should be protected. Furthermore, safeguarding minimum wage laws for all, regardless of age or ability, is essential in lifting people out of poverty.
Conclusion: Let’s Make a Healthy, Prosperous and Safe Florida
Making Florida affordable again requires a multifaceted approach, addressing property insurance, utility rates, healthcare costs, unemployment, affordable housing, democracy, and workers’ rights. By implementing these strategic measures, our elected leaders can ensure that every Floridian has the freedom to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. With financial freedom, Floridians can continue making the best decisions for their families, homes, businesses, and communities so that we all can live our version of the American Dream.