Stop spreading the news; Florida seeking New Yorkers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Dear New Yorkers:

Posted Updated

Frank Cerabino
, Cox Newspapers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Dear New Yorkers:

I am writing to give you further context to a story you may have read this week in The New York Post.

The story, titled, "Florida ready to take in New Yorkers seeking tax shelter" seems to imply that we here in Florida are eager to have more former New Yorkers living here.

This is not correct. I know this. I used to be a New Yorker. And people remind me on a regular basis that I ought to go back there.

I'm guessing that if you ask a random sample of Floridians what we're lacking here, none of them will say, "It would be nice for a change if we had more New Yorkers."

We are, in fact, beyond our quota. And the waiting list is, well, fuhgedaboudit.

I know. I know. This may come as a surprise to you. That's because we have a rich tradition here of salivating over outside sources of money.

Which is why if Florida had its own Statue of Liberty, it would be in the form of a sign spinner outside a Waffle House, and the inscription on the base would say, "Give me your wallet, your credit cards, your bundled assets yearning to be tax free. Kids eat free on Tuesday!"

We know a feature of the new tax bill is to punish high-tax states by limiting the deductibility of state and local taxes. And that Florida is "actively poaching" wealthy New Yorkers to move here, as the story says.

But what the story doesn't say is that we have maybe hundreds of thousands of 16-foot snakes on the loose in the Everglades, we're gradually sinking into the Atlantic Ocean, and our schools are paid for by poor people foolishly buying too many lottery tickets.

You want a piece of that? Not that we're offering. As a maitre d' in a snooty restaurant would put it, "Unfortunately, we're already fully committed."

Don't take it personally. It's actually very much in line with the new thinking on the national immigration policy.

For years, we had looked at "family unification" as the guiding force in population shifts. Somebody from a family would strike out for a new land, and then after settling in, he or she would persuade family members to make the move.

This is how most people from other countries resettle in America. But what was once considered noble has now been given a pejorative new label: It's called "chain migration."

"Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives," President Donald Trump said last week during his State of the Union speech.

And that's how it worked domestically too. Under the current broken system, a single retired plumber from Wantagh, Long Island, could bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.

And he did. This Florida pioneer would load up the U-Haul and drive 20 hours on I-95 to Boynton Beach. After settling in, he'd be on the phone to his sister, Shirley, in Patchogue, saying to come down. And she'd be calling her great aunt, Big Phyllis in Massapequa -- who in real life is shorter than Little Phyllis -- and she'd be moving down here with Uncle Mike with the one bad ear.

And the next thing you know, boom, you've got Leisureville.

It's the domestic version of chain migration, and this virtually open border policy with New York has allowed Florida to be overrun with people like me, who don't add anything to this community except for an abnormally low tolerance for inferior cheeses.

So don't take it personally.

We'll let you know when we have some availability. In the meantime, you might want to try Georgia.

On second thought, you might not.

Frank Cerabino writes for The Palm Beach Post. Email: fcerabino(at)pbpost.com.

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