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Sometimes the haters are right


Some people moving to Florida are shocked to find a state with poorly maintained infrastructure and massively overrated weather governed by right-wing goons:

One of the first signs Barb Carter’s move to Florida wasn’t the postcard life she’d envisioned was the armadillo infestation in her home that caused $9,000 in damages. Then came a hurricane, ever present feuding over politics, and an inability to find a doctor to remove a tumor from her liver.

After a year in the Sunshine State, Carter packed her car with whatever belongings she could fit and headed back to her home state of Kansas — selling her Florida home at a $40,000 loss and leaving behind the children and grandchildren she’d moved to be closer to.

“So many people ask, ‘Why would you move back to Kansas?’ I tell them all the same thing — you’ve got to take your vacation goggles off,” Carter said. “For me, it was very falsely promoted. Once living there, I thought, you know, this isn’t all you guys have cracked this up to be, at all.”

Florida has had a population boom over the past several years, with more than 700,000 people moving there in 2022, and it was the second-fastest-growing state as of July 2023, according to Census Bureau data. While there are some indications that migration to the state has slowed from its pandemic highs, only Texas saw more one-way U-Haul moves into the state than Florida last year. Mortgage application data indicated there were nearly two homebuyers moving to Florida in 2023 for every one leaving, according to data analytics firm CoreLogic.

But while hundreds of thousands of new residents have flocked to the state on the promise of beautiful weather, no income tax and lower costs, nearly 500,000 left in 2022, according to the most recent census data. Contributing to their move was a perfect storm of soaring insurance costs, a hostile political environment, worsening traffic and extreme weather, according to interviews with more than a dozen recent transplants and longtime residents who left the state in the past two years.

“It wasn’t the utopia on any level that I thought it would be,” said Jodi Cummings, who moved to Florida from Connecticut in 2021. “I thought Florida would be an easier lifestyle, I thought the pace would be a little bit quieter, I thought it would be warmer. I didn’t expect it to be literally 100 degrees at night. It was incredibly difficult to make friends, and it was expensive, very expensive.”

Cummings expected she’d have extra money in her paycheck working as a private chef in the Palm Beach area since the state doesn’t have an income tax. But the high costs of car insurance, rent and food cut into that additional take-home pay. After six months of dealing with South Florida’s heat and traffic, she began planning a move back to the Northeast.

As I’ve said before, one major disagreement I have with the typical American is what constitutes “good weather.” I can at least understand people who go to Florida on vacation during the winter (although personally there are many warm-weather places I would go first). And outside of the west coast and parts of the south/mountain west, I’ll grant that climate in the United States is pretty much a case of picking your poison. But describing a place with searing heat and humidity, almost twice the annual rainfall of Seattle, and frequent extreme weather events as having “good weather” is something I find absolutely baffling, even before we get to the whole sinking into the Atlantic ocean thing.

This will be especially familiar to you if you follow professional sports, but another classic American con is using a state’s lack of income tax as a single-variable stand-in for both cost of living and quality of life. Your interests may differ somewhat from people signing $100 million contracts!

…and while we’re here, the situation for women and girls of childbearing age…also not great:

Florida’s conservative Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s constitution does not protect abortion rights, allowing one of the country’s strictest and most far-reaching abortion bans to take effect in 30 days.

The court did allow an aboriton-rights initiative to go on the ballot, but I’ll believe that such an amendment would end up actually being allowed to go into effect when I see it even presuming it wins.

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