Florida CFO says businesses should ditch the Big Apple for the Sunshine State

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Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is touting Florida’s economic climate as a compelling alternative for companies in states like New York that face heavier tax and regulatory burdens.  

Patronis, who has served as Florida’s CFO since June 2017 under Governors Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis, told FOX Business in an interview that New York’s high taxes, restrictive regulations and even the recent fraud ruling against former President Donald Trump has made the Empire State unfriendly and unpredictable for businesses.

“We feel like this is an opportunity to capitalize. I’m in constant contact with businesses and firms in New York that are exploring their options to move to the state of Florida,” Patronis said. 

“When some states are struggling to reduce barriers for business development, Florida has worked to eliminate them and making sure to let people know that we’re open for business again.”

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Florida has seen an influx of residents who relocated to the Sunshine State from New York. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that 91,000 people departed New York for Florida in 2022. 

Patronis said that trend continued in 2023 and added, “Last year, we had 400,000 new net Floridians move to the state of Florida – that’s 1,200 a day. They brought with them a recurring dollar amount of $39 billion, so that’s retirement accounts, their business, their assets – they brought all that wealth here.”

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Florida’s low-tax environment, which ranked fourth overall in the Tax Foundation’s 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index, is a big draw for businesses and individuals looking to relocate in comparison to states it’s competing with, Patronis said.

“When a company is looking at making a relocation they’ll talk to several different states, and different states have dollars to bring to the table. Like in the case of Florida, we have a job grant growth fund and this is what we use for public infrastructure or workforce development. Next year we’ve got in the budget, it’s been appropriated, $75 million for that,” he explained.

“But what we have that other states don’t have is the low tax environment,” Patronis said. “There’s families that I talk to every single day that I’m on the job that relocated to the state of Florida… The only reason I ever get from any of them – it’s not the weather, it’s not that their kids are down here – it’s because they wanted the low tax environment. They wanted to retain more of their hard-earned dollars, and I’m a big believer that the citizens of the state of Florida spend their money better than government does.”

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He went on to say that the state of Florida assists businesses considering a relocation to the state with things like connecting them to site selectors or streamlining the permitting process, and that it offers extra incentives to exporters considering the state.

“When you have competing states that are creating a very inhospitable environment, this is just an opportunity for us to showcase why Florida is the right place to do business,” Patronis said. “Whether it’s from us holding your hand through the site selection process, whether it’s for workforce development, whether it’s streamlining the permitting process. Heck, we’ll even offer you money if you come to the state of Florida to export goods.”

Patronis noted that Florida’s economic clout and infrastructure – as well as its access to locations in Latin America and the Caribbean – make it an attractive destination for businesses.

“If Florida was its own country we would have the 14th largest global economy, we have zero personal state income tax that’s fully baked into our constitution,” Patronis said. “We’ve got $200 billion worth of trade that’s already taken place. We’ve got 15 deepwater ports. So there’s some logistics that we have here in Florida that are not going to exist in Virginia or North Carolina, or in this case in New York and New Jersey.”

FOX Business’ Taylor Penley contributed to this report.

Read the full article here

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