Politics

Miami the New Wall Street? Preview of FOX Business Network's 'Tax Flight to Florida'

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: February 14, 2013 3:55 AM
Cheryl Casone

FBN Anchor Cheryl Casone

Is Miami set to become the financial capital of the United States, if not the world? Florida, and the nation, might find out in the coming days as the FOX Business Network (FBN) kicks off, Thursday morning, two full days of coverage examining just that question.

“As we've watched the tax code change for business large and small, that structure has been a big issue for companies looking to expand,” FBN anchor Cheryl Casone, who is hosting the special report "Tax Flight to Florida," tells Sunshine State News. “There seems to be a big inflow in particular of residents and businesses from the New York region to Florida, so we are here to investigate and talk to leaders in the finance industry to find out why Florida is so attractive.”

Those leaders are a veritable who’s-who of Florida’s major financial players. On Thursday Casone will be interviewing HedgeCo Networks CEO Evan Rapoport, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County president and CEO Kelly Smallridge, Value Advisory chief research analyst Howard Rosencrans, and LPL Financial former managing director Steven Black.

And on Friday viewers will hear from Brunswick Boat Group chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy, Chaparral Boats president Jim Lane, MarineMax CEO Bill McGill, and National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thomas Dammrich.

Coverage will air intermittently between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday, alongside FBN’s regularly scheduled lineup. 

“It seems that low taxes, affordable commercial property rents, and your incredible standard of living with an abundance of sun is not just attracting the retired individual, but the business individual as well,” Casone explains, when asked what she thinks is attracting so much business to the state. “Several high-profile hedge fund and financial services firms have recently moved to Florida from Connecticut and New York.”

Casone suggests that at least some of the credit for this state of affairs should go to Gov. Rick Scott.

“I have spoken off the record to hedge fund executives that operate here in Florida and they are behind the governor's public push to make Florida more business-friendly,” she relates. “Remember, more business activity means more jobs, and that's crucial for Florida.”

When asked to chime in on some of the recent criticisms of the state’s Enterprise Florida program, which provides public dollars to private businesses to encourage them to set up shop in the state, Casone dismisses criticisms from groups like the conservative Americans for Prosperity and the bipartisan Integrity Florida, which have characterized the program as just so much “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare.”

“Programs like Enterprise Florida have a place in that all states are spending substantial amounts to market themselves to international businesses,” she says. “Mismanagement and waste are possible but these types of initiatives are needed to grow state economies.”

Casone has one word of advice for what Florida can do to help the large and small business communities and, by extension, the employment sector: stay the course.

“I would say Florida doesn't need to do anything [to make itself even more business-friendly], the business community is coming to you,” she observes. “As long as the roads are working, and you keep the lights on, you will see commerce continue to relocate to Florida from the Tri-State region. 

“There is nothing you can do about the hurricanes.”



Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (954) 235-9116.

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