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Fact-check: Haley calls out Florida’s property insurance, inflation rate in CNN debate with DeSantis
Former Ambassador Nikki Haley, right, speaks at the CNN Republican presidential debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Jan. 10, 2024, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP) Former Ambassador Nikki Haley, right, speaks at the CNN Republican presidential debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Jan. 10, 2024, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP)

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley, right, speaks at the CNN Republican presidential debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Jan. 10, 2024, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson January 11, 2024

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tried to highlight some weaknesses in Florida’s economic performance during a presidential debate against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis often lists the ways Florida is the nation’s top-ranked state, from gross domestic product to education to entrepreneurship. (We fact-checked his list.)

"But if he's gonna talk about his economy, I think what we should say is, ‘Why does Florida have the highest property insurance in the country?’" Haley said in the Jan. 10 CNN debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. "Why is it that (Florida) is named the American hot spot for inflation? Why is it that his state is now known to have the highest cost of living increases?"

RELATED: PolitiFact fact-checks of the Iowa debate between Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley on CNN

The property insurance claim rates True, although recent legislation aims to drive down rates. But we wanted to look at the other economic statistics that cast Florida in a less-sunny light.

The federal government doesn’t collect official data on inflation rates by state. But it does collect inflation statistics for a range of metropolitan areas, and the two Florida metro areas tracked in this way currently have inflation rates well above the national average.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area had a 7.7% inflation rate over the past year, and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area had a 7.1% inflation rate. 

Both cities’ rates are twice as high as the 3.1% national inflation rate over the same period.

Housing costs are driving this, experts say.

"A lot of people are still coming to Florida because the economy is really strong, and many like the fact that we don’t have an income tax like in New York," Amanda Phalin, an economist at the University of Florida, told CNN last July. "In places like Miami, we’re seeing a lot of real estate demand from non-Floridians or non-American investors — generally wealthy folks who want to have a nice home here."

Florida residents are also grappling with high insurance costs in a state with high hurricane risk. In 2022, Floridians paid the highest average home insurance premium at $6,000 a year, 42% higher than the 2022 national average premium. 

In our past analyses of Florida’s economy, we found that Florida has performed better on some important economic statistics, such as employment and gross domestic product but less well on wages, income and poverty.

Senior correspondent Amy Sherman contributed to this article.

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Our Sources

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, consumer price index for Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area, accessed Jan. 10, 2024

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, consumer price index for Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area, accessed Jan. 10, 2024

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, consumer price index for the United States, accessed Jan. 10, 2024

CNN, "Florida is now America’s inflation hotspot," July 10, 2023

Bloomberg, "Miami’s Inflation Ranks Highest in the US," Nov. 17, 2023

Forbes, "Florida Cities Hit Hardest By Inflation Over The Last Year, But Fed’s Effort To Provide Relief Creates New Problems," Oct. 16, 2023

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Fact-check: Haley calls out Florida’s property insurance, inflation rate in CNN debate with DeSantis