Miami Mayor Compares Fleeing New Yorkers to Texas, California Culture Clash

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez echoed a growing concern Tuesday among many "red state" Floridians that wealthy—and possibly even liberal—New Yorkers are bringing higher taxes and a poorer quality of life with them as they flee pandemic restrictions.

Suarez said New Yorkers and other Northern, big city expatriates should realize that if they come to Florida, the answer is not to "tax your way into prosperity," which will end up driving out businesses. Suarez and innumerable Florida residents touting "Don't New York my Florida" products on social media are seizing on a similar complaint from Texas residents: Too many California residents are moving in with arguably failed "blue state" ideas.

The state-versus-state competitiveness is not a new phenomenon. But the partisan sniping was amplified by former President Donald Trump, a New Yorker who moved his official residency to Florida in 2019 and later labeled his native city "a sad place." Adding to the partisan bickering, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tossed insults and lockdown blame at each other during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Suarez, officially a "nonpartisan," and conservative-leaning lawmakers in Florida have suggested that New Yorkers are likely to bring wealth taxes, homelessness or bad business policies, which some say has hurt the country's largest city during the pandemic. In addition to warmer weather and far fewer locked-down businesses, many Republicans think the New Yorkers are looking to impose big city financial burdens.

"Miami regrettably will continue to benefit bc we will continue to focus on three things: 1. Keeping taxes historically low 2. Investing in our police to keep our city safe 3. Having the premium quality of life," Suarez tweeted Tuesday. He shared a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined "New York's Hot Export: People."

The piece notes, "The trickle of wealthy émigrés out of New York has become a steady stream since police "reforms" released prisoners and mentally ill homeless people into the streets. It will be a flood if New York enacts a wealth tax with an associated tax on unrealized gains, which would lower, not raise, tax revenues, as those who leave take with them jobs and related services, such as legal and accounting."

Suarez added on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, "You can never tax your way into prosperity. Cities and States that continue to increase taxes will drive out job creators and hurt the vulnerable by sapping needed Gov resources. It's a vicious cycle that has never worked in the history of humanity and it won't work now."

But Miami's mayor may have a preference for which New Yorkers and Californians are moving to South Florida. A recent report detailed his "desperate" pitch to New York financial firms and Silicon Valley tech companies to make the move to Miami.

As The New York Times noted Tuesday in an article headlined "I'd Much Rather Be in Florida," there are plenty of financial reasons why investors or sun-seeking entrepreneurs are going south. The Florida unemployment rate is 5.1 percent, compared with 9.3 percent in California, 8.7 percent in New York and 6.9 percent in Texas. As the Journal op-ed notes, many wealthy New Yorkers may be leaving because they already feel an undue burden from the local tax rate. Tax data shows that in the city of more than 9 million people, only 65,000 families pay half of the city's income taxes.

Miami regrettably will continue to benefit bc we will continue to focus on three things:
1.Keeping taxes historically low
2.Investing in our police to keep our city safe
3.Having the premium quality of life

— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) March 16, 2021

A parallel argument has been occurring for years in Texas, where longer-time residents say new residents from California have brought with them "liberal" byproducts, such as big government and "disorder," as the Journal opinion piece claimed. Last August, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz blasted California residents who have flooded into the state because, he claimed, they were in search of lower taxes.

"California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity. Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA's failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don't like air conditioning!" Cruz tweeted last August.

Despite Cruz's and Suarez's claims, however, recent economic data published after the November election found an overwhelming majority of the country's wealthiest counties voted "blue" for Joe Biden.

Newsweek reached out to Suarez's office in Miami, as well as to DeSantis, for additional comment but did not hear back before publication.

In Hoboken, New Jersey, people ride bicycles in front of the skyline of lower Manhattan on May 1, 2020. Gary Hershorn/Getty