TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — While in Jasper, Gov. Ron DeSantis presented millions in infrastructure development funds to Hamilton County, and continued his commentary criticizing President Joe Biden’s policy effects on the national economy and Americans’ safety.

From education to politics to inflation, DeSantis unleased a salvo against Biden’s work while in his first 15 months in office, comparing the federal system and national trends with Florida’s current status. First, the governor commented on the differences between the budget approved by the state legislature and the management of funds in Washington.

“One of the things I’ve been really concerned about over the last year, the last 15 months, is the inflation. You know they come into Washington and they print trillions and trillions of dollars, and they act like that’s not going to have any effect. But what have you seen? You see things in the grocery store,” DeSantis said. “They say inflation is 8%, but it’s actually higher than that if you look at what it is. If you look at what it costs for all the different food staples, gasoline, if you look at construction costs, you know they have these communities in different parts of Florida, where a year and a half ago it would say ‘starting at $199,000,’ now there’s an ‘X’ through that and it’s starting $249,000.”

As noted by a representative from the Florida Democratic Party, the trillions of dollars printed in Washington are what funded the American Rescue Plan Act. That law, one of the first policy items pushed by Biden, provides the bulk of the funds used by the governor’s Job Growth Grant Fund, as outlined by the state budget. $50 million in the governor’s fund came from allocations chosen by the legislature to use from ARPA dollars.

An additional $24 million of ARPA funding from the previous year rolled over, giving the FY 2021-2022 grant fund $74 million for Floridian infrastructure programs.

The most recent measure of national inflation in the U.S. was 7.9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. The next report on national inflation levels comes out April 12, followed by the Producer Price Index for materials costs on April 13.

While individual items prices have been in flux, and trending higher, the CPI is an aggregate of overall inflation, meaning the nearly 8% price increase is the overall cost increase for all products on the market, including items like gasoline, cars and groceries, among the many other items purchased by Americans.

It is accurate that prices for some items have increased more than others, though a more current check on those fluctuations will not be available until next week.

Construction costs are one of several factors exacerbating housing inventory issues across the U.S. and Florida, though an already low inventory and years of slower construction are also contributors to the issues now facing prospective homeowners and others moving to Florida from out of state. The hot housing market, which grew progressively hotter over the past two years, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is particularly hot in Florida, where Census data showed thousands have moved recently, in addition to other population growth factors.

Rental and real estate prices are both significantly higher than in 2019, and have been rising for multiple years.

A big part of the recent inflation is the cost of gasoline and oil, made more intense due to disruptions caused by ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In the most recent CPI, gas prices accounted for roughly one-third of inflation, according to BLS. Still, Russia, as a nation, is one of the largest producers of oil in the world. The conflict with Ukraine and subsequent sanctions and boycotts of Russian fuel have added to the price increases.

DeSantis said policies pushed by leadership in Washington have made inflation worse than in years past.

“We need some different policies out of Washington. You can’t keep inflating and what’s going to happen is, you know, people are paying $4 a gallon in gas, they release from the strategic reserve, which is not meant for this, it’s meant for major situations where you may have a big time disruption,” DeSantis said. “The reason why it’s going up so much in our country is because the federal government doesn’t want to do energy domestically. We have the ability to be energy independent. They’re not allowing Keystone, they’re not allowing ANWR, they’re not allowing all these leases on all the federal lands. You have opportunities to be and we were energy independent just over a year ago, and now we’ve ceded that and now we’re at the mercy of…what, we’re going to rely on Venezuela to get oil? You’re going to rely, you’re going to beg OPEC to lower the price?”

The governor said the U.S. was able to be energy dependent “a few years ago” and blamed Biden’s policies for the fuel price increases facing Americans.

DeSantis’ comments on the Keystone XL Pipeline and the proposed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pipeline approved in 2017 under former President Donald Trump as solutions to the current energy crisis leave out the construction time for both projects, had they been approved.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, both proposed pipelines would take years to construct, meaning the impact on current fuel prices would be negligible.

The EIA previously forecasted construction of the ANWR would take about 10 years, while construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would be about three years for construction. Both estimates are made on the assumption that no construction issues or other delaying factors adjust construction timelines.

That said, recent changes to federal policy on drilling does put the roughly 9,000 approved permits for oil production in a functional grey area. The Bureau of Land Management did approve more than 9,000 permit applications to drill for oil on federal and tribal lands by the end of 2021, but the process of actually starting drilling and development to do so is a complicated process, meaning drilling itself cannot happen immediately due to regulation.

The federal government also reported that while the permits have been issued, and there isn’t a penalty for drilling, some companies are waiting on starting the drilling process until oil prices adjust, making the profit worth the cost of production. In the meantime, Biden has ordered 1 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be released per day to combat rising fuel costs.

Gas prices have started to decrease since the additional oil was released, with AAA reporting prices in Florida average $4.15 per gallon, down slightly from a week ago. DeSantis said the country should prioritize producing its own fuel to help American consumers.

“My message is let’s unleash American energy, let’s make sure we’re producing what we need to produce, and Keystone, bring it in from Canada, you know you do ANWR, you do all of these places, that will make a huge huge difference for people and I just hate to see people that are, you know, they’re making, they’re working hard, and they commute to work, and now they’re just getting killed with the gas prices and everything else,” DeSantis said.

He said the way inflation is hitting costs is making even the big wage increases of the past year “lose ground.” It’s true, the high cost of goods has cut into the wage hikes of 2021 and early 2022. The BLS reported real hourly earnings of Americans decreased, while wages themselves went up, meaning the amount of money hitting wallets and staying there has gone down.

Still, state-by-state, Florida had the third highest wage growth in the U.S. Florida workers collectively had an 8.7% increase in wages from September 2020 to September 2021.