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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

FLORIDA - THE ANTI-SKIL STATE

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Though I've lived in Tennessee for many years, I spent my growing up years in the Sunshine State. One thing I remember over the years is Florida's interesting tax strategy - slam tourists. Hotel taxes, car rental taxes, airport taxes - you name it. And this has made Florida's cities some of the most expensive for travel taxes of any cities in the world.



Now Florida is sticking it to people coming to the state on work visas. Florida's property tax rules have been skewed to make non-immigrants ineligible for the major property tax deductions available to citizens and green card holders. This is not entirely new, but Florida used to be a very cheap state for real estate. In the last few years, property values have exploded. Citizens and green card holders are guaranteed their taxes won't rise by more than 3% per year which means that newcomers carry the biggest burden. Plus, non-immigrants lack eligibility for a homestead exemption which means that a greater percentage of the value of their properties are taxable.

With Congress considering legislation to make the US more attractive to global talent - particularly for people with graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math - one has to wonder whether Florida will be taken off the list of places those talent workers will be going.

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  1. R. Lawson's Avatar
    Just to show that I am not "anti-immigrant" as you folks like to suggest because of my opposition to indentured servitude programs like the H-1b and L1 visas - I agree with your take on this.

    I currently live in Florida. I know a guy on the L1 who bought property on the waterfront several years back - for a good deal. Well, property values are rising and he can't get a homestead exemption because he is not a US permanent resident or citizen. Fortunately he gets his GC in the next few weeks and can homestead, but this is after his taxes have more than doubled in just three years.

    Oh, by the way this guy on the L1 was underpaid seriously and couldn't get a raise. And he couldn't change jobs. I believe that both H-1b and L1 visa holders should be subject to prevailing wages as defined in the Grassley/Durbin legislation AND (though not covered by that legislation) be able to change employers without impacting their immigration status or pending applications for permanent residency.

    I have him setup for an interview in two weeks - I can't wait to get my favorite manager back. And yes, he was a "ferner". Hold your shock ;-)
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