Posted: December 20, 2021 by Kelly Murphy-Redd
What do I mean by that? For almost two years it has become increasingly harder to do economic development in many states.

It started with policy. It manifested in events like riots, COVID-19, school shutdowns, lockdowns, censorship, mandates and more policies such as tax increases.

Last year I wrote about riot-torn cities where businesses were damaged, looted and burned down.  At that time I asked the economic development organizations in Portland, Seattle and Chicago how they were coping. They never responded to my question.

But common sense tells us it is probably pretty difficult to attract talent and businesses to an area where entire neighborhoods have not been rebuilt.

Imagine telling prospects that Chicago and New York are great places to do business, raise a family and have a great quality of life when there is a huge surge in violent crimes. It seems almost every week we hear reports of shooting deaths and other violent crimes in these places. NBC News reports that merchants in these cities are increasingly worried, while real estate professionals are having trouble marketing downtown properties.

The Chicago Tribune reports businesses are also leaving Chicago due to high taxes. Speaking of taxes, the governor of New Jersey says if you don’t like high taxes, New Jersey isn’t the state for you!

Forbes reports banks and tech companies are fleeing New York and California because of high taxes, unfriendly business climate, school shutdowns and high crime. Businesses have also found they don’t need to pay expensive New York commercial rents with more people able to work from home.

According to Forbes in their February 25, 2021 article, “A combination of high taxes, poor governance on the part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, ever-increasing crime, capricious business and school shutdowns and a resurgence in Covid-19 cases contributed to Goldman Sachs’ recent decision to move its large money management division to Florida.  

The absence of a state income tax, plus warm weather and a business-friendly mindset, has already prompted hedge fund billionaires and native New Yorkers Paul Singer and Carl Icahn to relocate their respective businesses to Florida. Leon Cooperman, the billionaire former hedge fund manager and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, previously moved to Florida. He said of his move, “I suspect Florida will soon rival New York as a finance hub,” due in part to the “Tax and Spend” policies of New York.”

In a previous blog I mentioned the reports of individuals moving to Florida. Many moved here because our schools were open. Forbes also reported many employees asked to be able to move to Florida and their employers complied. Reasons cited were open schools and businesses, no mask mandates and freedom.

Florida came out of lockdowns before many other states. We refused mandates. We took care of the elderly in nursing homes. We made vaccines available to those who wanted them. We made monoclonal antibodies available state-wide for treatment of COVID-19. We kept schools open while other states like New York and California kept schools closed. Our governor put anti-riot legislation in place and fought censorship.

He offered incentives to police officers who were fired over mandates to come to Florida. As delays affected the supply chain, incentives were offered to ships off the coast of California to come to Florida to offload products.

Businesses and individuals cite no state income tax, business-friendly climate, warm weather, open businesses and schools, lower taxes, lower cost of living, less crime, no mandates and freedom as reasons to move to Florida. Economic development is easier with these assets as compared to many other states.