Sunshine State-Golden State scorecard as Scott searches for business


Gov. Rick Scott once again is aiming to poach jobs from California. In a series of radio ads in advance of a trade trip, Scott pitches Florida as the sane alternative to California’s high taxes and back-breaking regulation.

California’s decision to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour will cost California 700,000 jobs, Scott claims.

Scott’s trip to California has become an annual affair. Last year, an economic development official there lashed back by likening Florida’s economy to Mississippi’s.

“Since his last 2,000-mile cross-country jaunt, California has added twice as many jobs as Florida,” said a spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Which state boasts the more attractive economy? That depends. California is the clear leader in innovation, research and high-wage jobs, while Florida is more appealing to cost-conscious companies.

The Palm Beach Post’s tale of the tape:

Job growth: Florida by a nose

Florida added 234,300 jobs from March 2015 to March 2016, a 2.9 percent growth rate, according to the Labor Department’s employment estimates. California added 420,800 positions, a 2.6 percent pace.

Wages: That depends

If you’re a worker, you want to be in California. If you’re an employer, you far prefer Florida wages. Silicon Valley routinely leads the nation in paychecks. The average weekly wage in San Mateo County is $2,090, according to the Labor Department. Florida wages remain stuck below the national average. Weekly wages in Florida’s two highest-paying counties — Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, at $924 each — are $50 below the national norm.

Home-price appreciation: Draw

Florida has the edge over the past year, posting 9.35 percent appreciation to California’s 7.12 percent, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. But California wins the five-year contest, 46.91 percent to 42.16 percent.

Housing affordability: Florida by a lot

The downside of California’s always-hot housing market? A lack of affordability. Budget-busting mortgages are the rule in the Golden State, less common in the Sunshine State.

Venture capital and research funding: California by a lot

Despite dropping $1.5 billion in taxpayer money to build a California-like biotech industry, Florida remains far behind.

Fortune 500 headquarters: California in a landslide

California is home to fully 53 Fortune 500 headquarters, with Apple, Google’s parent and Disney among them. Florida has just 14. The state no longer can claim the headquarters of Jarden Corp., which was absorbed this month in a merger, and Office Depot might go, too.

Taxes: Florida in a landslide

Florida routinely ranks near the top of the Tax Foundation’s ranking of states with the lightest tax burden, California near the bottom.


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