Florida’s DeSantis wants to limit politically motivated investment policies

By Andrew Powell (Center Square)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the Legislature to limit taxpayer-funded politically motivated banking and investment policies and protect Floridians from discrimination in the banking industry in the upcoming session.

DeSantis held a press conference in Naples on Monday to discuss legislative proposals to address environmental, social and administrative investment policies. While ESG was banned from investment decisions for state pension programs by the State Board of Administration last year, DeSantis wants more restrictions.

New bills will be introduced during the regular session that are intended to protect Floridians from discrimination by major banks and financial institutions for their political, religious or social beliefs and to ensure that fund managers invest only for the highest rate of return when investing taxpayer funds.

Under new bills being considered by the Legislature, banks would be prohibited from using social credit scores when making banking and lending decisions in Florida. Financial deposits from state and local governments will be prohibited with institutions pursuing an ESG agenda.

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State and local governments would also be prohibited from considering, prioritizing or requesting information about ESG as part of the procurement and contracting process.

“We believe that this is an elite-driven phenomenon, that ultimately it’s not going to be a road that’s going to be good for this country, and it’s not going to be good for other industrialized countries.” Dr. DeSantis.

According to DeSantis, ESG is a way to inject political ideology into investment decisions, corporate governance and the everyday economy.

“It’s ultimately not something that will work well for us here in Florida or in the United States.” Dr. DeSantis.

DeSantis noted that the average citizen does not want ESG, and that ideas are coming both within the United States and internationally. DeSantis noted that much of this ideological governance program comes from places like the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“One of their big goals is energy production, they don’t want us to produce more oil and gas, they don’t want us to be energy independent.” DeSantis said it’s bad policy because it affects how much Floridians have to pay for energy to work and live.

“It affects our national security, when you have to go to countries that are hostile to us to try to get energy, that’s not a good place to be.” Dr. DeSantis. “Why does it affect our national security? One of the main things we have to do in our country is to restore all the supply chains and get them out of China.”

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DeSantis noted that during the COVID-19 lockdown, most consumer goods were produced in China and noted that China is not an ally of the United States and that ESG gives China a competitive advantage.

Restrictions on private investment will also be part of adopting ESG principles, and DeSantis says people should be able to invest their money where they want – such as oil and gas companies. DeSantis added that shareholder funds are being used to fund this ideological policy.

“This is not an appropriate use of corporate power.” Dr. DeSantis.

DeSantis also said banks are using methods similar to social credit scores for companies, implemented under the Chinese Communist Party.

“This is not something that is acceptable here in the state of Florida.” DeSantis said the people most targeted are those who don’t follow the same ideals held by the “jet setters at Davos.”

“They’re not accountable to you, they’re not accountable to us, and I think ultimately this represents a threat not only to a smooth and prosperous economy, but also to our freedom.” Dr. DeSantis.

Syndicated with permission from Center Square.