On Friday, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) joined the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez for a discussion covering the recent migration trends of Americans and U.S. companies moving from California and other liberally-led areas to communities like Texas and Florida – and most importantly, why.
For example, Florida gained almost 221,000 new residents between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, while California lost 367,299 in the same time period. Constituents of either state may not be able to feel these changes in their day-to-day lives, but think about it this way: for the first time in history, California lost a congressional seat. Florida gained another seat.
“Our nation is finding, through the help of technology, that we don’t need to live in one place or the other,” Leader McCarthy said. “Before, there were big cities that people had to go to and they just put up with whatever policies. But now people are making these decisions based more on quality of life.”
It’s not just individuals and families moving around: American businesses are making changes too, leaving places like California and New York for states like Florida and Texas. Elon Musk moved himself and Tesla’s headquarters to Texas. Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire moved to Tennessee. Companies like Blackstone are buying office space in Florida. Why?
“In Miami we follow three simple rules. We try to keep taxes low, and in doing so our budget has doubled in size,” Mayor Suarez said. “People think you have to raise taxes to generate more revenue. But as we’ve lowered taxes, more investments come in and more people decide to live here. Second thing is, we focus on public safety. […] As we’ve invested in our police departments, our crime has gone down. […] The third thing is, we lean into innovation.”
We wanted to see what other elected leaders from around the country think about these trends, and why the communities and states they lead are currently more attractive than others.
Now more than ever, Americans want safety for their families, good education options, and job opportunities. These local leaders are working to secure this and more, mirroring many of the same policies and goals Leader McCarthy has for a Republican majority in the House.
Mayor Miles Atkins of Mooresville, North Carolina (+88,673 residents)
Since taking office as a commissioner in 2007, and then as Mayor in 2011, our town has been committed to providing community assets that are viable and accessible for the diverse needs of all residents. We have also shown steadfast dedication in ensuring public safety and devoted support to the first responders who keep Mooresville protected.
Our town has not raised property taxes since 2007 (since I took elected office in 2007, I have consistently voted against tax increases). This is a result of prudent, conservative planning and fiscal management.
Since taking office as Mayor, over $1.78 billion in investments have been made by local, regional, and global companies and 4,862 net new jobs have been announced. These investments help pay for infrastructure improvements, business and industrial park developments/renovations and provide employment opportunities. Workforce development for all segments of the population has been a major priority since day one. As Mayor, I’ve helped develop programs that fill the skilled trade and technical gaps, as well as a special focus on increasing the opportunities for local veterans
Since taking office, almost $28 million in private investments and over $7 million in public investments have been made in Downtown Mooresville. Downtown Mooresville revitalization and investments (both public and private) have also been a major priority during my tenure. Downtown supports a multitude of small businesses, local entrepreneurs, and independent business owners, which means in turn those jobs are kept local and actual residents are prospering together.
Mayor Daniel Rickenmann of Columbia, South Carolina (+64,833 residents)
We’ve seen this massive population shift to the Sun Belt because our quality of life is so great and our communities are so business friendly. In Columbia, our election is nonpartisan, but I am the first Republican to hold this office in over 60 years.
The people of Columbia heard our message and voted for someone focused on the issues that directly affect their lives. They want a city where it’s easy to do business. They want a safe city. They want a clean city. And most of all they want the government to stop making things harder for them.
Our mantra has been openness. We are open for business, open for investment, open for collaboration, and open to innovative solutions to our problems. We want to work with leaders in our neighborhoods and our business community to increase opportunity and make Columbia a place where businesses and families can grow.
We are creating opportunity in Columbia by lowering the tax burden on businesses, so businesses choose to invest in our people. We are streamlining our city systems, so permitting and approvals don’t cost our citizens opportunities at advancement. And we are making sure that the resources we have are being spent correctly. With the amount of Federal funding coming to our city, we have a unique chance to change the course of our city and give more families an opportunity at prosperity.
We are providing our law enforcement with the training, technology, and equipment they need to make our city safe. We’re getting rid of the steel plates and potholes. We’re working with our schools to make sure our children are educated and prepared to succeed.
So if you find yourself headed to the South, come check us out. Columbia is open for everyone.
Mayor Kent Guinn of Ocala, Florida (+220,890 residents)
Between July of 2020 and July of 2021, more people moved to Florida than to any other state, attracting 221,000 new residents — 600 every day. In the third quarter of 2021, 32.5 million tourists visited Florida, seven percent more visitors than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
There are those who claim that folks are only moving to Florida for the warm weather and the low taxes, but Florida has always had warm weather and low taxes. People are suddenly more attracted to Florida than ever before because Governor DeSantis has ensured that in Florida, people’s rights and freedoms are protected and respected.
Business owners know that they will be allowed to operate and their employees know that they will be allowed to go to work and won’t be fired because of vaccine mandates. Parents know that their children will be able to go to school in person and unmasked at some of the top-performing public schools in the country (Florida ranks third for K-12 education according to Education Week’s latest report.)
And parents know that their kids will not be indoctrinated with CRT because Governor DeSantis banned CRT in Florida’s schools and is prioritizing civics education by providing $3,000 bonuses to teachers who complete a civics training program.
Law and order is maintained in Florida. I implemented Broken Windows Community Policing over the past 10 years. Working with the State and Federal prosecutors we have taken our most violent criminals off the street for the next 10, 20 and 30 years. That has ranked us as the 4th safest city in the country to live in.
We are also a major distribution hub for the Southeast. Companies like FedEx, Amazon, AutoZone, and Dollar General have decided to locate here in Ocala. This has spurred investors to build $50 million spec buildings that are committed to within weeks after completion. We are also the Horse Capital of the world. We are fortunate to have the World Equestrian Center in our city, total investment to date in the center is $850 million and counting.
Despite having the lowest per capita tax burden in the country, Florida has better infrastructure and more efficient government services than high tax states. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, environmental stewardship is a top priority to preserve the Sunshine State’s beauty for future generations.
Florida is attracting more people because we put freedom first, stand up for employees and small business owners, protect our students and parents, maintain public safety, and improve infrastructure and preserve the environment all while keeping taxes low.
Mayor Scott Singer of Boca Raton, Florida
Boca Raton has seen a major influx of new residents, professionals, and businesses are attracted to our low taxes, pro-business environment, talented workforce, and great schools with in-person learning. We have shown that we can deliver world-class municipal services efficiently with low taxes and we continue to streamline our processes for development and investment. With one of the lowest tax rates of any full-service city in Florida and no state income tax, we look forward to providing the right economic climate to go along with our beautiful weather, safe neighborhoods, beaches and green space, and thriving high tech ecosystem.