CORAL GABLES — Eli Zied is one face of Florida's future.
The University of Miami senior started his own clothing brand while in high school. On Thursday, he had set up a pop-up store to sell his wares emblazoned with his brand name "Habits."
"Through this brand, people can look to become the best version of themselves," he said.
While building his brand though, he wonders if he can stay here long-term because his rent has skyrocketed.
"I feel the future can be uncertain because the cost of living is crazy," Zied said. "Especially here."
It was a sentiment voiced over and over inside the building next to his pop-up store.
Florida's Future conference was held -- delving into the topics of education, justice, commerce and housing. And, a big part of the discussion was over the escalating cost of living in South Florida and how that impacts all walks of life.
Judge Nushin Sayfie, a panelist on the justice session, remarked, "We are one of the most expensive places to live in the country."
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle added that new law school graduates are attracted to work in her office until they look at the average rents, which can top $36,000 a year.
"The legislature gives us 61 thousand dollars (per lawyer for salary) with law school debt of 164 thousand dollars" she told the audience.
Listening to everything, Daniel Perez, the in-coming Florida speaker of the house, says he gets all the angst over the ballooning cost of living.
"I'm seeing friends leave and I don't want to lose talent," he told CBS News Miami.
Perez says lawmakers last session did help struggling families with tax breaks, and money for affordable and workforce housing. He says relief is on the way for property insurance.
"My homeowners went up 120%! Right now, the average increase is 14% but over the next 8 months, I predict the increase will be cut in half," Perez said.
That's just about the time Eli Zied will be graduating from the University of Miami.
He says a lot of factors are in play when deciding if South Florida will be his permanent home.
"Of course I want my clothing brand to blow up, but even then it's super expensive and prices are still going up," he said. "So, it's uncertain in terms of that."
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