Will people moving to Florida bring with them the habits and policies of the places they are fleeing?
We hear it over and over: Florida’s real estate market is sizzling hot.
Realtors tell us their inventory of homes for sale is tight, real tight. And they tell us people fleeing the pandemic-shuttered and “tax everything that moves” states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan and California are fueling the buying. It’s a seller’s market, to be sure.
Indeed, Florida’s documentary-stamp tax collections last year almost reached 2007 levels, making 2020 the fourth-highest year on record.
Look at the streets and restaurants in downtown Sarasota. Packed. Traffic almost feels like a typical winter season. We’ve been told of young couples renting here for six months to escape Cuomo-coma-induced New York City.
What’s more, Florida’s aggregate population growth in 2020 was its highest in a decade — 387,479 net new residents, according to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
Dr. Stefan Rayer, the director of the population program at BEBR, says that influx came from all the usual places — all the aforementioned high-tax, shutdown states and from South America and the Caribbean.
From an economic standpoint, this is good news. Population growth has been high-octane fuel for Florida’s economic engine for nearly 75 years.
And yet, although population growth has been the underlying driver of Florida’s healthy economy, there is a political effect to the recent migration from the Northeast about which freedom-loving, laissez-faire Floridians should be concerned. It’s the same concern they have in Texas, with its influx of Californians:
Will all these escapees bring with them and try to inflict on us the bad habits and policies that ruined the places they are fleeing?
Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature, business owners and the millions of Floridians who love the state’s low-tax, low regulation, “let us live our lives” structure should be on guard.
We should let it be known repeatedly that Florida’s culture is that of an open, free, low-tax, low-regulation state that strongly embraces free-market capitalism over statism; whose citizens want to live peacefully, neighborly and safely; whose citizens work hard make their communities better for the next generations; and whose citizens cherish Florida’s magnificent environmental surroundings.
Wokeness is not welcome.
Indeed, we welcome those who want what we have here. But we want them to remember:
Leave your former state’s policies and misery behind. Remember why you left there in the first place.