Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

They came for Florida’s sun and sand. They got soaring costs and a culture war.

By 37ci3 Mar31,2024



The couple jumped at the chance when her husband’s former boss in Connecticut reached out to see if he was ready to return.

Reverse migration from Florida is not only among newcomers, but also among longtime residents who say they can no longer afford to live there and are worried about the state’s increasingly conservative policies in recent years. pressure on undocumented immigrants, a prohibition Transgender care of minors, how the state intervenes competitionslavery and sexuality taught in schools and a six-week ban abortions.

After more than three decades in the Tampa Bay area, Donna Smith left the state for Pennsylvania in December, with politics and rising insurance costs playing a big role in her decision to leave.

“It breaks my heart, it really does, because Florida was a really great place when I first moved there,” Smith said.

Growing up in Oklahoma, Smith considered himself a Republican, but as Florida politics shifted to the right, he said, he began to consider himself a Democrat. But over the past few years, politics have begun to intrude on her daily life—from arguments between neighbors and friends to neo-Nazis showing up at a Black Lives Matter rally in her small town.

“When I first moved to Florida, it was about living on the beach and living it up. You met people from all over, everyone was relaxed. It’s gone now, and it’s shocking. It just disappeared,” said Smith, 61, a graphic designer and illustrator. “Instead, it’s just a constant stressful atmosphere. I feel like it could flare up at any moment and I’m not a coward. It’s just the atmosphere there, the feeling.”

He was already considering moving out of state when his homeowners insurance company told him he had to replace his roof because it was more than four years old or his premiums would jump from $3,600 to $12,000 a year. it was double what he had already paid. Even with a new roof, he was told his premium would be $6,900 a year. Before he could decide what to do, his insurance policy was cancelled.

Shortly thereafter, Smith moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she was closer to her grown children. Although the majority of voters in his new district chose Donald Trump in the last election, he said politics is no longer a heavy presence in his daily life.

“I don’t feel like it’s that much pressure. People don’t wear it on their arm like they do in Florida,” he said. “When you walk around the room, you don’t hear people saying, ‘Trump is the best,’ or ‘I went to the last rally,’ and they’re just saying that to strangers.” waiting for your car or something. It was just everywhere.”




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By 37ci3

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