DeSantis wants to outlaw investments in state pensions

What’s next for the Florida Governor

Posted by Phoenix Valley News Online on July 29, 2022

Gov. Ron DeSantis is escalating his war on “woke” capitalism and threatening to punish banks and investment firms who focus on long-term results rather than merely the short-term profit line.

He singled out the “ESG” investment movement, which stands for ecological, social, and governance, during a news conference on Wednesday in Tampa (meaning the way companies are structured). DeSantis called the movement—also referred to as “sustainable” investing—”the politization of the economy.”

The largest, most powerful corporations benefit, while small and medium-sized businesses suffer. Therefore, this is not something that, in a way, empowers the small guy. You know, the little guy is being crushed by this in many ways,” he remarked.

On August 27, Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a press conference in Tampa. Screenshot from the DeSantis Facebook page,

You have a small group of people in Davos making all of these decisions, telling us that this is how we should live? On my watch, no. Not here in the state of Florida,” he added, continuing his prior criticism of The Walt Disney Company and making another election-year plea to his Trumpist constituency.

Paul Renner, a Republican who will soon take over as speaker of the Florida House and represents Flagler and portions of St. Johns and Volusia counties, stated during the event that the Legislature would support the governor by passing laws implementing the policy.

Kathleen Passidomo, the incoming president of the Florida Senate, did not attend.

“Basically a global elite weaponizing American capitalism against us,” was how Renner portrayed the tendency. Renner claimed that it affects both national security and personal finances, driving up energy prices, “choking” investments in private firms that assist with border control, and affecting agricultural output.

Get ready if you consume meat, Renner advised.

“If you were attempting to overthrow a powerful country, what would you do differently?”

DeSantis’ scheme

The governor’s proposed strategy is to:

prohibit the State Board of Administration from taking into account what DeSantis called “political issues” as it handles around $240 million in pension investments on behalf of retirees from the state and some municipal governments. DeSantis, Ashley Moody, the attorney general, and Jimmy Patronis, the chief financial officer, are all members of the board. The group will meet again on August 23.
To solely “consider maximizing the return on investment on behalf of Florida’s pensioners,” the state should require its fund managers.
Stop banks, credit card providers, and online payment services like PayPal from treating clients unfairly because of their political, social, or religious beliefs. Tina Descovich, a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, lamented that the organization had delayed donations to the group until the news conference.

In response, DeSantis Watch, a collaborative initiative of Progress Florida and Florida Watch to unseat DeSantis in November, released a statement on Wednesday claiming that DeSantis’ ideas will restrict Florida’s ability to combat the climate crisis:

Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared he will forbid the State Board of Administration (SBA) from taking into account how firms that the state invests in through our pension fund harm the environment, their adherence to human rights, and their standards for bribery and corruption. The governor is once again serving the interests of his major corporate funders and wealthy backers like Elon Musk by forbidding the application of environmental, social, and governance norms when the state makes investment decisions, the letter states.


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