Reimagining the Governor’s Decision on Home Energy Rebate Program
On a surprising turn of events, Governor Ron DeSantis is seeking to reclaim the $346 million in federal funds that he previously rejected. This move comes six months after vetoing $30 million for the state’s home energy rebate program administration.
Empowering Local Governments for Energy Efficiency
Simultaneously, a group of Florida congressional Democrats has introduced a bill to empower city and county governments to run the home energy rebate program. The bill aims to assist low-income Floridians in upgrading appliances and reducing their energy bills.
Unyielding Dedication to clean energy
Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost, D-Orlando, stated, “Governor DeSantis’ harmful decision to block hundreds of millions of federal dollars to help Florida families adopt clean energy makes it clear we cannot count on our state leadership to help us fight the climate crisis, but we won’t take no for an answer.”
The Reforming Energy-Efficient Buildings and Appliances Tax Exemptions Act
The introduced bill, called the Reforming Energy-Efficient Buildings and Appliances Tax Exemptions Act, seeks to amend the Inflation Reduction Act. If passed, it would allow cities and counties to receive federal funds directly for high-efficiency electric home rebate programs. This amendment would provide tax incentives to Florida families who wish to update their appliances to more energy-efficient ones.
Overcoming Politically Motivated Veto
Representative Darren Soto, D-Orlando, emphasized that Florida refuses to let politically motivated vetoes hinder access to beneficial programs. He highlighted the bipartisan nature of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, both of which were passed to benefit working families and secure a better future for generations to come.
A Change of Heart
By vetoing $30 million from the state budget on June 15, Governor DeSantis prevented Florida from receiving $346 million in federal funds for the home energy rebate program. Consequently, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Energy was forced to withdraw its application for the rebate programs.
Clarifying the Governor’s Position
At the time, Governor DeSantis opposed the measure due to its focus on climate change. According to Chris Spencer, the governor’s budget chief, the home rebate program was favored, but not the climate-related aspects.
An Alternative Budget Proposal
In the governor’s proposed state budget, $1.73 million in federal trust fund grants would be allocated to the Florida Department of Commerce for administering Home Energy Rebate Programs. The proposal grants the agency the authority to request additional funds as required for rebates. The specifics of the federal matching dollars availability were not disclosed.
A History of Opposing Energy Savings and Climate Change Initiatives
This is not the first instance where the DeSantis administration has eliminated legislation or funding aimed at energy savings or climate change. The governor vetoed a bipartisan bill that could have saved state taxpayers $277 million by incorporating electric vehicles into government fleets.
Focusing on Roadways and Bridges
Furthermore, in November, DeSantis’ Department of Transportation Secretary, Jared Perdue, declined $320 million in federal funds intended to reduce tailpipe emissions. This funding was part of the Carbon Reduction Program, a comprehensive effort to combat global warming. Secretary Perdue emphasized that the focus should be on building roads and bridges instead of reducing carbon emissions.
News Service of Florida contributed to this report.
Read More of this Story at www.orlandosentinel.com – 2023-12-18 13:11:29
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