Florida’s Governor Rick Scott and the Great Tax Migration

Just as capital migrates from places where it is unwelcome, people migrate from places that try to vacuum money from their pockets.

There is a great human migration happening in America, a great sorting out led by baby boomers, into states that value economic freedom. The moving trucks are hauling belongings and people by the millions from high-tax states with smothering regulations, to states that value limited government and reasonable taxes.

Or, as The James Madison Institute President Bob McClure tells it, “Americans are choosing to ‘Live Free – Or Move.’”

The movement is all about red states versus blue states, and the kind of life you can live in one compared to the other. The residents in blue states generally vote for liberal presidential candidates and politicians who pursue fiscal strategies that require higher taxes and heavier regulation – or as we like to call it, cultural liberalism. Red states predominantly harbor conservatives, who pursue fewer regulations and a lean government, fiscal prudence and lower taxes – in other words, traditional values.

080131_floridaAbout 13 states are labeled blue, 25 are red, with the remainder not easily categorized. When you think of red, think of Florida and Texas. When you think of blue, it’s California, Illinois and New York.

In the last 15 years, millions of Americans have left tax-heavy states and moved to Southern and Western states that are taxpayer-friendly. Over $2 trillion came with them. This is a seismic population shift of people who grew tired of seeing their years of hard work and success evaporate into paying the endless costs of labyrinthine government.

A few months ago, Newsmax named Florida the top state for retiring boomers because of its “taxes, the fiscal health of state and local governments, job opportunities, a business-friendly environment, cost of living, climate, wealth, quality of educational opportunities, and overall quality of life.” Texas was No. 2.

A major reason Newsmax recommended Florida for the top spot was Gov. Rick Scott, who not only engineered several hundred thousand new jobs in his tenure, but is expected to “protect taxpayers from liabilities in the future,” as Newsmax put it. Working together, Scott and the Florida Legislature cut 2,300 regulations in three years.

Few enjoy seeing the great red-blue divide in our political system, but the divide provides a choice of contrasting worldviews and lifestyles. States that abuse productive citizens deserve to lose them. Blue-state refugees are tired of funding bloated governments that cannot balance budgets and that genuflect to powerful unions that bleed taxpayers. Add meddlesome regulators, unfunded pension liabilities and frivolous lawsuits against business, and the blue pot boils over. Time to abandon the sinking ship.

Even as this is written, blue states are imposing new taxes to pay for the massive infrastructures they have built to support rabbit-warrens of bureaucrats, inspectors, regulators and new government departments. As a result, expenditures in most blue states exceed revenues, causing jacked-up taxes and spurring an exodus that threatens to become a stampede.

If you live in a blue state, get out while there’s still time. Escape to Florida. Be on the right side of the red-blue divide. If you are thinking of moving from most blue states to Florida, many of your former tax burdens will evaporate when you cross the state line.


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John R. Smith


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