According to Florida, Florida was the first resettlement destination for Americans in 2020 Move.org. New York and California took first and second place in the game for which most states chose to leave.
Justin Pearson is a 27-year-old truck driver for a Target distribution center. A resident of Hemet, California, for 22 years, Pearson moved to the city of Riverside for another three years until the dramatic change in policy and rising cost of living made it impossible for him to live on his own. He said he also could not afford to buy his own house. To survive at all, he flees to Lake City, Florida.
While the national average in property taxes is 1.07 percent, Floridians pay only 0.83 percent, en Californians pay even less—0.73 percent. But Pearson said the cost of all the others in California erased the benefit of lower property taxes. In addition, Florida is one of only nine states in the country that has it no government revenue or wage tax.
“With the COVID restrictions, many businesses have closed,” Pearson told The Epoch Times. ‘This in turn caused an increase in homelessness. Then the governor adopted the zero-dollar bail policy and an early release program for prisons, which skyrocketed the crime rate. Gas tax was added. The cost of living was so high that you would not be able to make ends meet if you were alone. You literally had to have two or three incomes to make it. ”
A specific motivator in Pearson’s decision to choose Florida was his’ deep respect ‘for Government Ron DeSantis for his efforts to ban Critical Race Theory, to introduce a riot bill and his unapologetic position of’ back the blue ‘. Pearson also admires DeSantis’ widely criticized decision to lift all COVID restrictions, which he says kill California.
Gavin Newsom, governor of California, has opted to maintain COVID-19 closure restrictions and to extend both state and federal taxpayer-funded unemployment benefits. California’s 8.3 percent unemployment rate is among the highest in the country, second only to 8.5 percent in Hawaii.
The national average is 6.1 percent.
Florida’s emergency unemployment benefits are going to expire and DeSantis has refused to extend the additional $ 300 a week in federally subsidized unemployment benefits. Still, Florida Unemployment Rate stands at 4.8 percent.
Pearson said high unemployment in California fueled an explosion in homeless numbers, already exacerbated by the 2017 cut in Newsom’s mental health budget, which left unstable patients otherwise wandering the streets.
“You can walk around every corner and find garbage everywhere, needles and feces,” Pearson said. “It’s disgusting.”
Pearson also noted how illegal immigrants flood into California and the governor does nothing to stop it.
“In fact,” Pearson said, “he gave them stimulus salaries using our tax money.”
Pearson, who hosted behind the blue rallies in California, said it is becoming too dangerous in California for Republicans to stand up for what they believe in.
“People would attack and assault us,” Pearson recalls. ‘But because of the zero-dollar bail policy, they would get away with it. California is just a difficult place to live and I do not see it changing any time soon until people in California make better decisions about who they vote for. ”
Much of Pearson’s sentiments are shared by Laura Gainsborg.
“I’ve been in New Jersey for over thirty years now and that’s enough,” the former Florida resident told The Epoch Times.
“Talk about blue,” Gainsborg said of Pennington, New Jersey. “It’s a small town and the people are as liberal as they get!”
Like Pearson from California, Gainsborg wanted to return to Florida because she also felt uncomfortable discussing politics. According to Gainsborg, also a Republican, people in her predominantly liberal New Jersey neighborhood are not very receptive to listening to the other side.
“There are very few people we can talk to,” Gainsborg laments the place where she lived for three decades. ‘I want to go back to Florida. People in Florida are always friendly. You can talk to anyone, even people with different political tendencies. ”
Gainsborg was also attracted to Florida by the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis. As a retired teacher, she supports his ban on critical racial theory. She also favors her decision to withdraw the additional federal unemployment benefits of $ 300 a week, which she says encourage people not to go back to work to earn a salary.
Along with providing 13 weeks of extra unemployment benefits to taxpayers, the New Jersey government, Phil Murphy, has also extended the extra $ 300 a week in federal unemployment benefits. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is currently 7.5 percent.
“It was awful,” she said. ‘New Jersey is going down fast because people do not want to go back to work. The teachers do not want to go back to work. The unions currently govern New Jersey. ”
The payment of lower property taxes played a major role in Gainsborg’s decision to move to Florida. Gainsborg’s husband, a forensic scientist, is also preparing to retire. But even with their joint retirement benefits, she said they would not be able to afford the property taxes they would otherwise have to pay in New Jersey.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, the number of people who moved to Florida was mentioned incorrectly. The Epoch Times regrets the mistake.
Follow Patricia Tolson on Twitter @ PTolson1