It’s official. Florida is the nation’s third-largest state with 19.7 million people. It surpassed New York this month by adding an average of 803 new residents every day as opposed to New York’s 140.
Contrary to the stereotype, sun-seeking seniors aren’t the main drivers of Florida’s population growth. James Johnson, a business professor at the University of North Carolina, told the AP that Florida’s powerful economic engine is driving its growth: “I think it’s going to be for the 21st century what California or New York was for the 20th century.”
As the James Madison Institute reports, Florida’s growth is built on a consensus that taxes, spending, and regulation should be restrained. Its budget is half the size of New York State’s, it lacks a state income tax, and it is much easier to start and run a business there than in many northeastern states.
As a result, Florida has experienced solid job growth (the third-highest in the nation for private-sector employment). Its workforce is better prepared than that of many states. Education Week’s annual rating of state schools gave Florida its No. 6 ranking, earning top grades for standards, accountability, early childhood education, and career preparation.
“Florida is an example of what can happen when the private sector, local governments, the legislature, and the governor all work together to promote a climate that fosters innovation and job creation,” says Bob McClure, president of the James Madison Institute.
Meanwhile, back in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo took time this week to announce his state will ban fracking, which would have represented a potential bonanza for the state’s depressed upstate counties. Some states want to live and some states seemed determined to wither.