Ron DeSantis is spending $3.6 million to send $1000 paper checks emblazoned with the logo of the Florida Governor through the mail to the state's police officers and first responders, and teachers and principals, rather than use the direct deposit payroll systems currently in place. The $1000 checks are being called "bonuses" but the funds actually come from President Joe Biden's federal stimulus program.
The checks will not have the logo of the President of the United States or the Democratic Party. No Republican Senator or Congressman voted to pass the bill that funded the $1000 checks.
Some in Florida are blasting the Republican governor, a major Trump supporter and likely 2024 presidential candidate.
To make matters worse, The U.S. Dept. of Education notified Florida its program violates the federal agency's rules, but the State of Florida said it disagrees.
"Instead of sending the money directly to local governments to disburse to their employees, as the state has done with previous teacher bonuses, the state is paying Fidelity to do the work," the Miami Herald reports, citing the $3.6 million fee on top of the actual money to fund the $1000 disbursements. "That has prompted accusations from some lawmakers and teachers union officials that DeSantis is using the bonuses to score political points."
“They could have just sent the money to school districts at no cost to taxpayers," Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, told the Herald. “It sounds like the governor's wasting money."
The move is similar to one the former president, Donald Trump, made with federal stimulus funds, "suggesting" his name be printed on federal COVID stimulus checks. The "suggestion" was granted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.