Florida Governor to Residents of High-Tax States: ‘It’s Your Money . . . Move to Florida!’

by John Fund

“Scott Will Use Inaugural Address to Promote Florida as Tax Haven” is the headline in today’s Tampa Tribune. The reference is to today’s inaugural speech by which re-elected GOP Governor Rick Scott will begin his second term. In his speech he will declare to high-tax states that he plans to poach jobs and people from them.

“I have a message today to the people of New York, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and others: Move to Florida!” Scott said in an early release of his remarks that will be delivered at noon today:

 We want you to keep more of the money you make because we understand it’s your money. We want your businesses to grow and succeed. We want to compete globally and win. Over the next four years, I will be traveling to your states personally to recruit you here.

Obviously, Florida’s low-tax, business-friendly environment has combined with its weather to already attract a lot of people. Last month, the Census Bureau noted that Florida has surpassed New York to become the third-most populous U.S. state, behind California and Texas. As the James Madison Institute, a free-market think tank in Florida, points out, the state has no income tax and has the third-highest private sector employment growth in the country, which may be a consequence of the fact that its state budget is half the size of New York State’s.

The size of government is a major theme in Governor Scott’s speech today. He clearly sees his governance as part of a bigger philosophical picture:

While we are focused on growing jobs in Florida — we must realize that positions our state as a fighter in a great movement against the silent growth of government, Many states, like Florida, are fighting to limit the growth of government and grow opportunity instead.

Scott promises to travel around the country promoting the Florida example and engaging in some “poaching.” From the available evidence, he will have receptive audiences.

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