Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.
Florida’s meteoric growth is being driven by imports – of people, businesses, industries. Just look around Nassau County as an example.
Neighborhoods are popping up like kernels of popcorn at the comfortable B&B Amelia 7 Theatre. New and innovative businesses like B&B theatre are moving or opening here to service a sophisticated, newfound population. And more is to come.
The growth is real, tangible. Florida’s economy topped $1 trillion in 2018 (as measured by the goods and services it produces). Florida would be the 17th-largest economy in the world, if it was its own nation. Larger than Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. And the future is so bright that you need sunglasses for more than the sun.
“One of the big economic distinctions between Florida and states in the northern Rust Belt is our growing population,” says Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida.
In a published report, Snaith went on to say, “More people in a state’s economy means more economic activity.”
Within 30 years, Florida’s economy will more than quadruple to $4 trillion in size, due in large part to a steadily growing population (and its burgeoning tourism industry). Snaith asserts that our state will have more than 29 million residents by then – up from 21 million today.
Here in Nassau County, the population should at least double over a similar time period, as the massive Rayonier developments in Yulee reach full bloom with 20,000 new homes. This does not include growth in the east and the west sides of the county.
Strong growth helps a state’s infrastructure, public services, education. A good economy benefits everyone, rich and poor. Gov. Rich Scott deserves some of the credit for it, especially coming out of the horrific 2008 recession.
Scott’s 7-7-7 campaign aimed to create 700,000 jobs over seven years in seven specific steps. “It was initially met with disbelief from political opponents and the media alike,” Snaith says. “But the recovery of Florida’s labor market during his administration has been remarkable.” In addition, Florida has been recognized as the healthiest state in terms of finances (the state has produced a $3 billion budget surplus for three consecutive years now).
Ironically, many people are moving to Florida from the Northeast. From indebted states like New Jersey and Connecticut with little growth, high taxes and few opportunities. People are essentially voting with their feet, leaving there and coming here.
Florida’s low-tax/less regulation equation obviously works. But the big-government, exorbitant-tax policies of northern states contradict what is being done here. These failed disciplines produce anemic growth and do not have to be imported with our cherished new residents.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor with a regional brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His business columns also appear in several newspapers in North Florida and Southeast Georgia and on his website: SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has also published a book of columns he has written over the past 20 years, “All About Money.” The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached by phone at 904-753-0236 or by email at [email protected]