Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
— Steve’s Marketplace —
The yellow color blanketing our area is not just the bountiful, beautiful sunlight. It is also the color of New York license plates.
They seem to be everywhere. Probably from their striking color and their positions on both the front and back bumpers.
How can you blame New Yorkers, especially from New York City. High taxes, high crime, high congestion. They are pouring out of their once-glorious city like the outflow of the Hudson River. And it’s the wealthiest moving out, to appealing alternatives like Florida.
New York lost nearly 6 percent of its high earners between 2019 and 2020. These are households earning from $150,000 and $750,000, according to reports. Worse yet, the number of households earning more than $750,000 – the super wealthy – dropped by nearly 10 percent in the same period for the struggling city/state.
Losses of this magnitude put a bigger burden on remaining taxpayers. The top 10 percent of taxpayers pay two-thirds of all income taxes in New York. And it seems like political leaders there want higher tax revenues each year, exacerbating the situation.
So, they move to freer states like Florida, with low taxes, low crime, and low congestion, particularly compared to New York City. These states are taking a big bite out of the Big Apple.
No other state has attracted more high-earning households than Florida in recent years. Texas and Arizona are second and third on this list.
In 2020, Florida added 32,000 households with incomes exceeding $200,000 a year. Of the new ultra-rich residents, we’ve attracted the likes of billionaires Carl Icahn, Ken Griffin and Donald Trump.
On average, Florida is attracting 1,000 new residents a day. Of those, 100 are moving to the greater Jacksonville area. But at some point, the new movers crowd the existing homeowners.
It’s not uncommon to wait an hour or more for a table at favorite restaurants here. You even have to wait for a table at lunch sometimes. And the inflow of new residents and tourists doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
How much tourism is too much, before it takes a toll on the lifestyles of existing residents – who pay for the infrastructure and the amenities.
Then there are complimentary articles like a recent one in trendy Travel & Leisure magazine, with the caption: “This Florida Beach Town Has Loads of Southern Charm, a Shrimp-themed Festival, and Year-round Fun for the Whole Family.”
The article showcases Fernandina Beach with pictures of the downtown, the marina, the beach. It celebrates our eclectic restaurants and shops, our swanky hotels, our 13 miles of beaches with access, our waterway activities, our history from the days of swashbuckling pirates. And with the hurricane damage suffered by premier South Florida tourist destinations, our tourist appeal will accelerate.
Here is part of the Travel & Leisure write-up: “Beyond the famed shores of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Daytona, Florida’s smaller beach towns welcome travelers from near and far for laid-back, sunny getaways,” it says.
“Take Fernandina Beach, for example,” it continues. “Sitting on the northeastern border between Florida and Georgia, this seaside destination brings something different to the table: a delightful blend of Southern charm, centuries-old historical sites, and, as its name suggests, picture-perfect stretches of sand and sea.”
The magazine mentions our upcoming Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, as well as our annual jazz and chamber music events. In addition, a “Fernandina Beach Songwriters Festival” is debuting in April, with some 15 different acts hailing from here to Nashville.
The article is spot-on accurate. This is an ideal place to visit, at any time. “Like Paris, Fernandina Beach is always a good idea,” the magazine quips. And it’s an even better place to live.
Steve Nicklas is a financial adviser with a national brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.