(Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waded into the debate over gas stoves and government regulation on Thursday, proposing a permanent tax exemption for the appliances.
DeSantis used a news conference about rural internet access to criticize a federal regulator’s suggestion that gas stoves might need to be banned because they emit harmful indoor air pollutants.
“They want to control every single aspect of your life,” DeSantis said, drawing applause from the crowd in Milton, Florida. “This is all part of a larger scheme, so in the state of Florida we’re saying, ‘Don’t tread on us on this.’”
The tax break was included as part of the governor’s “Framework for Freedom” budget presented Wednesday, which also proposes abolishing the sales tax on baby items such as diapers, and over-the-counter pet medications.
“They want your gas stove, and we’re not going to let that happen,” DeSantis said in his budget presentation.
DeSantis, who is widely expected to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024, seized on a political firestorm caused by the suggestion of a ban on gas stoves by US Consumer Product Safety Commission member Richard Trumka Jr. The remarks, in a Jan. 9 interview with Bloomberg News, sparked criticism from lawmakers ranging from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Senator Joe Manchin. The head of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission walked back Trumka’s comments two days later, saying there are no plans to ban gas stoves.
DeSantis has stoked speculation of a presidential run by weighing in on national issues almost daily, and he added his own criticism of gas stove regulation to the mix, while also acknowledging in his budget presentation that most Floridians don’t have gas stoves.
About 40% of US homes have stoves fueled by natural gas. They emit pollutants such as carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels considered unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization. Multiple studies link these particles to respiratory illness, cancer and other health conditions.
In October, Consumer Reports urged consumers planning to buy a new range to consider going electric because gas stoves emit high levels of nitrogen oxide gases. Last year, new peer-reviewed research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the US can be attributed to gas stove use.
--With assistance from Ari Natter.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.