Protecting Florida's freedom to cook on gas?
On February 1, Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced a record-breaking budget of $114.8 billion for the forthcoming financial year. What captured the most attention though, wasn't so much the scale of proposed investment for the Sunshine State, but rather the inclusion of a $7 million tax break that is intended to encourage Floridians to buy gas stoves, suspending sales tax on the domestic appliances.
What's perhaps most significant about the tax break, isn't so much that it's included, but rather the alarmist narrative that DeSantis continues to push, suggesting that the Federal Government is somehow 'out to get' those who want to cook on gas.
Commenting on the budget line item during the budget announcement, DeSantis used the notion to portray the issue as a matter of constitutional freedom:
"They want your gas stove, we're not gonna let that happen."
Clearly, as far as DeSantis is concerned, the right of Floridians to cook on gas is a matter of great importance. His comments though are a little misleading in how it portrays recent comments made by the Biden Administration on the matter.
DeSantis - protector of gas stoves
The origin of the story goes back to early January, when President Biden made a statement that prompted outrage from various Republican politicians and conservative pundits - that his administration was considering a possible ban on the sale of gas stoves.
Within days, the Democrats had gone to lengths to confirm that a ban wasn't being planned, and rather that the initiative was a matter related to concerns about emissions of dangerous gases that can be released by gas stoves including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels deemed unsafe by the EPA and World Health Organization.
The response by various Republicans was swift, in spite of the correction issued by the Democratic party.
Congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas was quick to use Twitter to highlight perceived hypocrisy on the part of the Biden administration, using pictures of the First Lady - Jill Biden - cooking on a gas stove:
Meanwhile, Governor DeSantis was quick to respond, with a proposal to lower taxes on the sale of new gas stoves, seizing the opportunity to add this supposed-infraction of freedoms in Florida.
DeSantis then went even further, launching a range of merchandise on his political fundraising website including a chef's apron featuring an image of a gas stove and the slogan 'Don't Tread on Florida'.
Don't Tread on Florida
The fixation on preventing any potential ban on gas stoves seems symbolic for DeSantis, but it reflects his commitment to ensuring that Floridians don't suffer any infringement of their freedoms (either real, or perceived).
Selling for $25 each, the aprons feature a logo and slogan modified from the Libertarian 'Gadsden Flag' which originally featured a coiled rattlesnake instead of an oven, with the slogan 'Don't Tread on Me'. The design has become associated with ideals of freedom from oppression and rebellion, and is often used by those with anti-government sentiments.
In August, Florida also released a state license plate featuring a similar image.
While Floridians may value his commitment to freedom, some might feel like the freedom to carry firearms without a permit is closer to the sentiment of the founding fathers of the United States, rather than the freedom to cook on gas stoves.
And for the record, DeSantis seems keen to allow constitutional carry of guns in the state by the end of this year's legislative season too!
Do you think that it's alarmist of Gov. DeSantis to suggest that Floridian freedoms are at risk in this way? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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