Florida was the No. 1 relocation destination for Americans in 2020, according to Move.org. New York and California took first and second place in the contest for which states had the most people choosing to leave.
Justin Pearson is a 27-year-old truck loader for a Target distribution center. A resident of Hemet, California, for 22 years, Pearson moved to the town of Riverside for another three years until the dramatic change in policies and rising cost of living made it impossible for him to live on his own. There also was no way he could afford to buy his own home, he said. In order to survive at all, he fled to Lake City, Florida.
While the national average in property taxes is 1.07 percent, Floridians pay only 0.83 percent, and Californians pay even less—0.73 percent. But Pearson said the cost of everything else in California erased the benefit of lower property taxes. Additionally, Florida is one of only nine states in the country that has no state income or wage taxes.
“With the COVID restrictions, a lot of businesses closed,” Pearson told The Epoch Times. “In turn, that caused an increase in homelessness. Then the governor enacted the zero-dollar bail policy and an early prison-release program, which caused the crime rate to skyrocket. Gas taxes were added. The cost of living was so high you could not get by if you were single. You literally had to have two or three incomes in order to make it.”
A specific motivator in Pearson’s decision to choose Florida was his “deep respect” for Gov. Ron DeSantis because of his moves to ban Critical Race Theory, to enact an anti-riot bill, and his unapologetic position of “backing the blue.” Pearson also admires the widely criticized decision by DeSantis to lift all COVID restrictions, which he believes are killing California.