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Florida Democrats Urge GOP Lawmakers to Tackle Gas and Housing Affordability – Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gasoline prices in Florida hit a new high on Wednesday and the cost of rent rose more than 30% from the same time last year in Duval County.

Now, Florida Democrats are calling on the governor and state lawmakers to do more to address Florida’s growing affordability crisis.

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For Dennis Waugerman, owner of the Wauga Wauga Food Truck, refueling is a necessity.

He told us he had seen his fuel costs double over the past year.

“I mean, we also have to raise our prices, which then affects customers and everything, you know, so I mean that definitely hit us hard,” Waugerman said.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried is pushing the governor to do more.

“Declare a state of emergency and work with us to help the people of our state,” Fried said during a virtual press conference Thursday morning.

That same day, she sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, urging him to declare a state of emergency due to high food and gas costs.

She said such a statement would allow her agency to waive a rule that prohibits gas stations from selling fuel at a loss.

This was done during Hurricane Dorian.

The historical data of the US Energy Information Administration shows that gasoline prices fell about five cents in the two weeks following this action, but then jumped 10 cents in the third week and ended the month about a cent and a half lower than it n ‘had begun.

“We need to do everything we can to help bring prices down for Floridians in need, and I’m looking forward to taking this step to lower gas prices,” Fried said.

Waugerman told us he would like to see authorities do more to bring prices down, but declaring a state of emergency seemed premature.

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“I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily say we’ve gotten to this point where we’re declaring a state of emergency, you know, but I mean we’re close to it,” Waugerman said.

Democratic state lawmakers are also pressing the governor to expand the call for next week’s special session on property insurance to deal with further price hikes.

“To expand it to include the rising cost of rent,” said state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando).

In Duvalthe average rent for a one-bedroom apartment has jumped 7% since the start of the year and 34% compared to the same period last year.

“Me and my staff literally worked to relocate just three families last week,” said state Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville).

Whether the governor will respond to either appeal remains to be seen.

Either way, Floridians will see at least a 25-cent drop in gasoline prices in October thanks to the Governor-approved gasoline tax exemption.

Rents could also see a drop if lawmakers are able to pass meaningful property insurance reform next week.