Thousands of South Carolinians are soon bound for Florida - if not already there - for big-time bowl games. But nearly all of the Gamecock fans who will root for South Carolina against Wisconsin at Wednesday's Capitol One Bowl in Orlando, or the Tiger fans who will root for Clemson against Ohio State at Friday night's Orange Bowl in Miami, will come home.
The same can't be said of the millions of Americans who have moved from north to south in recent decades. And as Thursday's New York Times reported, Florida will soon eclipse New York as the third most populous state.
The warm weather of the aptly named Sunshine State obviously helps attract newcomers to it.
The absence of an income tax also makes it particularly appealing for retirees.
But those aren't Florida's only strong lures.
Like many other Sun Belt states, including our own, Florida is far more business friendly than, well, New York.
The advantages for private enterprise include lower taxes, less onerous regulations and less labor-union power.
Thus, as the Times reported: "When the Census Bureau releases its latest population estimates on Monday, demographers expect that Florida and New York will be narrowly separated - perhaps by as little as a few thousand people - and that if Florida does not pass New York this time, it almost certainly will do so in 2014."
The story warned of this ongoing population shift's "practical and political implications, including diminished congressional delegations, a setback New York already suffered in 2010 - the year of the last decennial census count - when the state lost two districts, while Florida gained two seats."
South Carolina picked up a congressional seat of its own in 2010. Our population has soared from 3.1 million in 1980 to more than 4.7 million today.
And New York has fallen from No. 1 in state population in 1960 to No. 3 behind No. 1 California and No. 2 Texas - and soon will trail No. 3 Florida.
That's not the result of mere chance.
New York state has high taxes. Texas (another state without an income tax) and Florida do not.
And while California has retained a high population, its high taxes have driven out many businesses, leaving the no-longer-so Golden State in severe financial stress.
That doesn't mean cutting taxes guarantees economic prosperity. It certainly doesn't mean South Carolina can get by without an income tax.
Still, in this free country, people don't just vote at the ballot box.
They vote with their feet by choosing where to live.
And the ongoing migration southward re-confirms the economic benefits of low-tax - and business-friendly - policies.
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