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We’re Good for Business/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/JULY08/images/BizLine
When it comes to doing business, we’re second only to North Carolina. The latest study by Pollina Corporate Real Estate ranks Florida No. 2 in the firm’s fifth annual rankings, judged on factors like taxes, utility rates and economic incentives to persuade big companies to move in. Florida scored high for employment growth, low corporate income tax rates and the absence of a personal income tax.

North Carolina ranked No. 1. Other states in the top 10 include Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, South Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, Utah and Kansas.
Chicago-based Pollina specializes in helping companies relocate.
 
We’re Still a Popular Relocation Destination But …
Migration will continue to fuel Florida’s growth over the next two years, with University of Florida economists projecting about 575 people moving into the state each day. The growth rate has slowed, however. Between 2002 and 2006, the state had a daily in-migration rate of 1,145 people. Even at almost 600 people per day, however, the growth rate is at its lowest level in three decades, according to the latest projections from UF.

“A tremendous slowdown is forecast over the next few years compared to what we’ve experienced during the last five years,” says Stan Smith, director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “The state has not experienced a decline of this magnitude since the mid-1970s, when we were in a national recession.”

209,000 New Residents a Year
The Sunshine State is expected to add an average of about 209,000 residents per year between 2007 and 2010, compared with annual increases of about 418,000 people between 2002 and 2006. The biggest group moving to the state during the last four or five decades has typically been those in their 20s and 30s, with those 65 and older accounting for only about 15 percent of in-migration, Smith says. But people in their 20s and 30s also make up the biggest share of those leaving the state, which is why Florida became the nation’s oldest state after World War II.

“It’s really sort of a boom-and-bust pattern that we have seen in Florida,” Smith says. “The years between 2002 and 2006 were the biggest in terms of absolute increases since the early 1970s, and then just as we experienced in the 1970s, we are going from a period of high- to low-growth numbers.”

For more information, go to http://news.ufl.edu/2008/03/27/florida-population-2.

FAR Supports a National Disaster Policy

No matter where a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster strikes, it affects everyone. And our tax dollars help fund recovery efforts. That’s why the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR) and its 2008 president, Chuck Bonfiglio, care so much about a federal natural disaster plan.

Bonfiglio recently spoke to members of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations during a special field hearing in Palm Beach County. In discussing the impact of Florida’s property insurance crisis on communities, homeowners, business owners and the economy, he said, “The Florida Association of Realtors® strongly encourages Congress to enact a comprehensive natural disaster policy to help property owners prepare for and protect against losses from future catastrophic events. Such a policy would recognize the respective responsibilities of property owners, private insurance markets and all levels of government in preparing for—and recovering from—such devastating events.”

A Coast-to-Coast Issue
Recovery from catastrophic natural disasters is a national issue, Bonfiglio explains, and federal catastrophic insurance coverage would permit insurance companies to better manage risk and widen insurance availability at reasonable costs. Just as with federal terrorism insurance, coverage on unknowable events allows the private insurance market to continue its
presence.

All Taxpayers Have a Stake
The ongoing recovery from the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons “shows that all taxpayers in the country have a stake in federal natural disaster policy because their tax dollars are funding recovery efforts,” he says, adding that FAR believes it’s in the best interest of all Americans to have a comprehensive federal natural disaster policy that includes aggressive mitigation and an appropriate assumption of risk so that affordable insurance for homeowners and commercial properties is available.