TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — During his appearance at the University of South Florida’s Alumni campus in Tampa, Gov. Ron DeSantis focused on the state of the national economy, with rising gas prices, housing expenses and grocery store prices.
The governor said inflation was a large problem, particularly with the nation’s prices having increased more than 7% in the past year, a historic surge. A recent study on how inflation has hit household spending says Floridians are paying almost 40% more for everything, since June 2021.
“You look to see about inflation, it’s a huge problem. And it’s much higher than 7% or 7.5% percent, when you look at things that really matter. Gas is much higher, food is higher than 7% up,” DeSantis said in Tampa. “You look at construction costs, building homes and all of this, a huge increase in materials, to be able to do that.”
A study by QuoteWizard looked at every state in the country to see how families were faring in the storm of inflation and supply chain issues. Florida families have seen an increase in costs, everyone’s family has. What the study found was that 38% more households in the Sunshine State were struggling to cover their expenses since June.
According to the same study, 43% of Florida households were having “slight to moderate difficulty” with household expenses, while 11% were having a “very difficult time.”
With inflation increases at a 40-year high, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and inflation having shown no signs of slowing down for months.
The most recent Consumer Price Index showed that the biggest cost increases were for energy, particularly oil and gasoline, as well as vehicles, and groceries like beef and pork. While the national inflation rate was 7.5% higher, year-over-year, Tampa’s inflation increase was even bigger.
Inflation in the Tampa metro area was up 9.6%, hitting prices for everyday items, housing costs and gas at the pump. The report from BLS was the first look at Tampa area inflation since 2021. The higher-than-the-rest inflation report was an echo of a similar report in November 2021, where Tampa led the nation’s inflation. It’s a cost report which, like the national increases, shows no signs of slowing.
For the Tampa area, the cost of food was 6.2% higher, but food was 7% higher for the rest of the country. While Tampa’s gas costs were slightly lower than the national inflation level, at 38.6% compared to the country’s 40%, the real cost surges were in grocery stores and housing for Tampa Bay.
The costs of meats, poultry, fish and eggs were far above the nation. While the U.S. had a 12.2% increase in prices year-over-year, for meats, poultry, fish and eggs, the Tampa area’s cost was 21.1% higher than in 2021. Housing costs continue to challenge Tampa’s affordability, compared to the rest of the country. U.S. housing costs for rent and mortgages were up 4.4% and 4.1%, respectively, but Tampa’s costs for those same expenses were 10.8% and 10.2% higher compared to 2021.
It’s a point the governor did not miss, instead placing the blame for the increased costs solely at the feet of the federal government, and President Joe Biden’s policies.
“The striking thing is we’ve got a lot of problems in this country, and that’s obviously something you’ve gotta deal with, but it’s striking that so many of these problems have been created by Biden and his administration since he’s become president,” DeSantis said yesterday. “Think about gas, people are chafing at the pump because you’ve had 40, 50% increase in the price of gas.”
As in earlier comments, the governor said inflation was higher than just the 7% or 7.5% reported by BLS, because of how the increases were hitting and harming residents and what they pay just to live. When it comes to housing, the Tampa metro has seen the seventh largest cost increase in the nation. Renters in the area are spending almost half of their monthly wages on housing, alone.
And in Florida generally, rent increases and home prices are continuing to surge, without much sign of slowing, in every part of the state. Availability and inventory are both down as more people move to Florida.
All of this adds to the household expenses of everyday Floridians. Based on the data they analyzed from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, QuoteWizard is expecting “people’s financial situations will continue to drastically change the higher” as long as inflation is here to stay.