TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - President Joe Biden called on state and local governments to draw from COVID-19 relief funds to give $100 to newly vaccinated people in an effort to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates.
The president said governments can pull from their State and Local Recovery Funds issued through the American Rescue Plan, which allocated $350 billion to help local governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's office said Thursday that he does not have the power to "unilaterally expend funds from the [State Fiscal Recovery Funds] SFRF, because any expenditure of those funds would require an appropriation by the legislature."
According to the governor's office, appropriations made from the SFRF for the current 2021-2022 Fiscal Year are outlined in Section 152 of the General Appropriations Act and there are no funds appropriated for a vaccine incentive program.
The governor's office also said DeSantis is not considering a vaccine lottery "because that would be a waste of taxpayer dollars."
DeSantis' office reiterated that vaccines work to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 and vaccines are free of charge and widely available throughout the state.
"Governor DeSantis has consistently encouraged Floridians, especially those in high-risk groups, to get the vaccine. They are safe and effective for the majority of people," the governor's office said.