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Small Businesses May Transform Food Deserts

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A Deltona lawmaker is betting a one-time investment of 5 million taxpayer dollars and conservative Republican principles can transform Florida’s food deserts into an oasis.

Representative David Santiago is no believer in big government. He says that’s why he jumped when business leaders and the American Heart Association suggested using grants and loans to lure independent grocery stores into poor neighborhoods.

“They came and pitched the idea to me and I said this is right up our alley. Why not help small businesses, and at the same time, help serve our communities that are underserved.”

Under Santiago’s bill, the Florida Department of Agriculture would manage the financing. He says a Democratic colleague wants to co-sponsor the bill.