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Chamber Survey: 21% of Floridians Would Leave; Business, Government Equally Blamed

| February 14, 2011

A season of voluntary exile ahead for Florida.

Results of the annual Sunshine State Survey commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce were published today, and the numbers are grim: almost half the respondents say Florida is a worse place to live than it was five years ago, with just 12 percent saying it’s better. And looking ahead to the next five years, just 31 percent see matters improving, while 65 percent see the state getting worse or staying the same.

The survey also adds more data to the trend of the last two years, which has seen parts of the state, including Flagler and Volusia counties, lose population for the first time in memory: 21 percent of respondents are seriously considering moving out of the state, up from 17 percent last year. The proportion is 28 percent for Central Florida respondents, and 12 percent for residents in the northeast.

As for tax cuts, the survey shows Floridians—unlike Gov. Rick Scott—not interested: In an open-ended question about what the governor’s top priority should be, 61 percent say creating jobs and improving the economy should be it. The next-highest response was 8 percent for improving education. Tax relief came in at 3 percent, about equal with health care reform.

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Floridians are also displeased with their business leaders, who rate as poorly as government leaders when it comes to trust and doing what’s right for Floridians. Asked how much of the time business leaders can be trusted to do what’s right, just 29 percent of respondents said almost always or most of the time, while 69 percent said only some of the time or never. That compares with 28 percent giving government leaders the higher marks, and 71 percent less trusting marks. Non-profit companies, however, got better marks than both, with 42 percent of respondents saying they can be trusted to do right almost always or most of the time.

The survey also rated Floridians’ satisfaction with their government at various levels. State government rated worst, with just 23 percent of Floridians rating it good or excellent. The highest satisfaction in government was with local school boards, with 37 percent giving them good or excellent grades, followed by the court system and county government, at 33 percent each. City governments rated lower, at 32 percent, and the federal government at 25 percent.

“The public is very wearisome of the slow economic recovery and the high frustration level of Floridians is impacting their opinion of government at every level,” said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida public administration and political science professor. “At the same time, people have an expectation of what they want the governor and the legislature to do: to create jobs and remove major barriers to doing business in the state of Florida. They also see education, especially good teachers, as vital to Florida’s economic future.”

The poll of 1,220 Floridians was conducted January 3-16 for Leadership Florida by the Nielsen Company, as it has since 2008.

Asked in an open-ended question what put the greatest stress on household finances, the highest reason by far was joblessness, followed by the poor economy, the price of utilities, the price of basics such as food and maintenance. Property taxes came in fifth, followed closely by personal debt and mortgages, then by the cost of property insurance. Asked specifically to say which placed the greater burden on household finances between property taxes and insurance premiums, 40 percent said insurance, 32 percent said taxes, and 8 percent said the burdens were about equal.

The survey also focused on education. Some 46 percent of respondents rated their local public schools good or excellent. Asked to rate which of seven priorities should be the state’s first in improving public schools, 31 percent—the highest proportion by far—cited increasing teacher pay and retaining the best teachers. More accountability of financial management, not of teachers, came in second, with 20 percent. Raising standards to improve test scores got backing from 14 percent of respondents, reducing class size from just 12 percent.

A separate question framed the issue more explicitly by asking respondents what they would do first to improve education, and limiting their choices to just three responses: getting rid of ineffective teachers (that got 52 percent), rewarding teachers with “financial incentives,” or merit pay (that got 40 percent), and doing both simultaneously (5 percent).

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14 Responses for “Chamber Survey: 21% of Floridians Would Leave; Business, Government Equally Blamed”

  1. Mike says:

    Any chance Rick Scott can read the second to last paragraph? Assuming, of course, two things: 1.) He actually cares what the people want. 2.) He can read. And guess what? If he can read, he can probably thank a teacher.

  2. Saddened says:

    Amen to what Mike said! We spend millions on palm trees for the sides of our highways and cut back in education? No wonder why we are behind in education. If education gets any worse, I am thinking of moving out of this state, for that reason alone. Education is one of the things I look at when voting. Watch out Rick Scott!

  3. mare says:

    We don’t need million dollar facilities to teach in, we should look to save money there. What we do need is good, no, excellent teachers that are proud of their professional and their financial status. A good educator does not need a state of the art facility to teach in, they only need the ability to captivate and teach our students.
    Physical exercise, arts, trades, and music need to stay in the schools as well.

  4. Mike says:

    excellent teachers…check.
    proud professional status…check.
    proud financial status… wahahahahahahaha!
    State of the art facilities? Some schools were built or re-built by the lowest bidding contractor. May want to do some homework here. Other schools were replaced due to crumbling foundations. I guess we could retrogress back to the times of a one room schoolhouse with one of those bells on the top (provided I get to ring the bell…sure looks like fun!) We might have to once Scott gets done slicing and knifing education funds.
    Definitely agree on one part though: Keep electives alive. But these, sadly enough, will probably be the first ones to go by cutting education $3 billion statewide.

  5. palm coaster says:

    Republicans had the nerve to root and pass tax breaks for the top percent rich, like Warren Buffet complaining that his secretary and cleaning lady paid more taxes than he does. Now they attack the education funds, labor unions, salaries, pensions and jobs of state employees among others our teachers, firemen, police and emergency services employees.
    When are we going to have the guts to get together and try to stop this assault on our middle society and peacefully organize and let our current Republican driven administration know that the Change campaign promises failed and like in Egypt we are fed up?
    Hey Rick Scott I am not wealthy but don’t need any more tax cuts as a Floridian. Just save you further tax cuts and keep you hands of our education funds and do not generate more unemployment by firing our state workers. Create the jobs you and your buddies GOP promised and did not deliver and stay off the backs of our beaten middle society paid for services and salaries.

  6. elaygee says:

    Please tell them to leave ASAP and no complaining when they get to Alabama or Mississippi where they’ll get no services.

  7. Johnny Tax Payer says:

    “like Warren Buffet complaining that his secretary and cleaning lady paid more taxes than he does.” Beg your pardon… Warren Buffet has mentioned many times that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than him, but never that his secretary pays more in taxes than he does! There’s a huge difference. 15% of $1 billion is a hellova lot more money than 20% of $60,000.

  8. Justice for All says:

    Actually, Buffet’s tax rate is 17% while the middle class people in his office pay 39% (Tom Brokaw interview in May, 2010). Point being, Mr. Buffet, who has complained about the tax structure being skewed towards the rich, has considerably more disposable income after taxes. His check may be bigger, but as a percentage of gross, even he thinks its unfair. A thank you to my math teachers.

  9. says:

    this sate is very sad if you are trying to raise a family and buy house on the salary you receive here. it is very hard to find a job with a good salary and benifits and a retirement package to sustain a family leaving here. if i could sell my house i would probably be out of here.

  10. Jim R. says:

    Just came back from a trip to N.Y and Ct, Snow piled 6 feet high and nowhere to put more, wind chill -5, wet feet, driving 8 hours to cover 250 miles instead of 4, nowhere to park.
    When in this dreary cold I dream Florida dreams, the beach , the palm trees, the warm breezes, and I predict that another winter or two like this and Fl. will be gaining population, not losing it.

  11. palm coaster says:

    Johnny you are correct, I omitted to recall that Warren Buffet said that his employees paid “a higher tax rate than he did”. In a realistic equation as I described then, would have been correct if his employees will have the same revenue as he does “would have been paying much higher taxes than he does in 1 billion at 39% versus their boss at 17%”. No matter which way you paint it, the reality for the ongoing and systematic destruction of our American middle society is just real today and pathetic as described next:
    Maybe will require soon that we all have to get out, like done yesterday in Wisconsin 15,000 teachers, firemen and state workers stand in their Capitol demanding that their new GOP Governor do not pass a 10% plus salary cut for all, benefit cuts and the right of unions collective bargaining. A real program to also undermining our American unions their only voice for our workers not to be enslave. All under that governor’s threat of lay offs and national guard alert. More of the same will take today and the rest of this week in Wisconsin.

  12. Obama Supporter says:

    How that GOP TEA PARTY CHANGE looking?

    Boehner and Scott jobs\ creating saving total? 0

    Obama created More Private Sector Jobs Created In 2010 Than During Entire Bush Years

  13. Jim R. says:

    WOW all three hundred jobs created by Obama should solve the problem.
    Repeal NAFTA., put heavy tariffs on every import that comes into the country if it can be made here, screw Globalism and all it’s spokesmen that tell us that that’s the way it has to be.
    If we use it here , make it here, and there would be no unemployment problem, Also living wages not minimum wages, in every job, no matter how menial.

  14. palm coaster says:

    When a reference is made to NAFTA that is the agreement only between USA, Canada and Mexico (NOT CHINA or Korea ) should be made clear that this trilateral agreement benefited the workers in the three countries involved and just because Clinton a democrat signed finally Nafta should not be vilified as
    the disastrous deal that is portrait by the ill intended or uninformed.
    How has NAFTA affected the U.S. labor market?
    Measuring the impact of a specific trade deal on a country’s labor market is not a straightforward exercise, and analysts disagree on how to gauge NAFTA’s effects. The USTR claims a broadly positive influence, citing figures that show an increase in overall U.S. employment of 24 percent since NAFTA’s inception, as well as declining unemployment rates over the same period. In addition, the USTR cites data showing that inflation-adjusted U.S. wages rose 19.3 percent between 1993 and 2007, as compared to only 11 percent in the fourteen years prior.
    As an exporter of only American manufactured goods to Mexico I can assure you that I do my very fair share providing jobs for our workers and also Mexico buys a lot from us and trade have increased since Nafta went into effect. Now, what China buys from us? We sell them 45 billions in several years as just agreed with Obama and we import from them 245 billions/year. A real joke. They inundate our markets and use that profit to lend back funds to our government.The perfect business. Tax imports and we will pay our debt to them overnight and our American Corporations setting plants there will be back here overnight providing the jobs we were robbed of.
    Our problem is not all the imported stuff from Canada or Mexico as we can hardly see any in our stores also both buy from our America as much or more, than we buy from them. Our problem is all costly manufactured goods in China, Korea, Japan, Turkey, Malaysia and the like that, inundates our daily lives. We have no more TV sets, computers, stereos A/C’s, technical gadgets, cameras, appliances, tools, lawnmowers, grills of awful quality, clothes or shoes Made in USA. All made mostly in Asia and these are what we need to tax on arrival. Can someone tell me what is the name of the agreement we have with Asian countries specially China to be inundated with their manufacturing and no import tax? The WTO includes China and other Asian countries but….China do not abide by reciprocity in trade. Nafta between Canada Mexico and USA is vilified and bashed to cover up and distract form our real problem…when one third of USA exports go to Canada and Mexico. Lets do not use Nafta to cover up and distract from our real problem Chinese, Korean, Japanese Malaysian, etc., imports in our ports and American greedy corporations using those countries slave workers to satisfy their greed.

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