Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Vermont Budget > Florida is a leader in the race to the bottom

Florida is a leader in the race to the bottom

Despite research that contradicts the claim that people move to other states when taxes are increased, stories of tax flight persist. It seems that every purveyor of the tax flight legend knows someone—or at least knows someone who knows someone—who left Vermont to settle in Florida because Florida has no personal income tax.

There’s no doubt that Vermonters are moving to Florida. According to migration data from the IRS, just over 1,300 Vermonters moved to Florida in 2008 (while more than 1,000 Floridians moved here). But it’s likely that the weather, rather than taxes, influenced their decision, because more than 3,600 people from New Hampshire, which doesn’t have an income tax either, also moved to Florida that year.

But before Vermonters decide to take up residence in Florida for whatever reason, they might want to read the expose published recently by the Miami Herald. “Neglected to Death” is the result of a year-long investigation into assisted living facilities in the Sunshine State. It documents the decline in government oversight of these facilities and the shameful neglect and abuse of people who lived in them. When Florida Gov. Rick Scott released his budget in January, he put forward a plan to grow jobs in part by “reducing burdensome regulations.”

More than half of the US population now is under 40, which means all they have heard for most of their lives is that taxes are bad and government is the problem, not the solution. As the momentum to dismantle government services builds in places like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida—and assuming there are still a few news organizations like the Miami Herald—we can expect to read more stories like “Neglected to Death.” It’s a hard way to learn, but perhaps we’ll recognize the importance of the services government provides when they’re no longer available.

Posted by Jack Hoffman on May 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

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