State Rep. Ralph Massullo

State Rep. Ralph Massullo

Rep. Ralph Massullo didn’t pull any punches Friday when he addressed a roomful of business and community folks at Black Diamond Ranch.

Inflation, he said, is the highest in 40 years and there are storm clouds and rough waves all around the nation. Supply-chain disruptions and lack of a qualified workforce are plaguing business owners.

“The good news is the boat you are in is Florida, your captain is Gov. Ron DeSantis and the crew is the Florida Legislature,” Massullo said.

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Massullo, guest speaker at the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, said the policies enacted by DeSantis and legislators the past two years were “all directed particularly for freedom of individuals and the survival of our businesses,” he said.

Massullo said legislators passed a record $112.1 billion budget that included appropriations ranging from beach restoration projects and increased mental health services to enhanced nursing education and affordable housing programs.

Massullo said it is his goal to build a mental health facility somewhere in the middle of Citrus County.

Massullo said Citrus County was a big winner during the recently concluded 2022 legislative session, receiving $78 million for local projects.

Here are some of the Citrus County projects that received appropriations this year:

$20.7 million for the Turkey Oak bypass in Crystal River

$3 million for the King’s Bay Riverwalk project

$10 million for the Homosassa River Restoration project

$7.1 million for the Crystal River Airport runway extension and environmental assessment

$9.25 million for a Fort Island Trail multi-use path

$250,000 for the Academy of Environmental Sciences Septic-to-Sewer project.

DeSantis still needs to sign off on all these appropriations.

In his presentation, Massullo highlighted House Bill 927 and 1107 which allows businesses within the Downtown Crystal River and Inverness entertainment districts more latitude in the sale of alcoholic beverages during events.

Michael D. Bates is a staff writer with the Citrus County Chronicle and can be reached at