In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon was the first European explorer to claim Florida when he landed in Northeast Florida while on a hunt for treasure. He called the land “La Florida” because it was covered with flowers. It was also a tribute to the Eastertime Spanish Feast of Flowers called Pascua Florida. St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in North America. Florida was controlled at different times by Spain and England until Spain finally sold it to the United States in 1819. Florida became a U.S. Territory in 1821 and two decades later, in 1845, Florida was admitted to the union as the 27th U.S. State. In April of 2013, Florida celebrated its 500th birthday with “Viva Florida 500.”
The Florida economy first developed with the use of natural resources in logging, mining, fishing and sponge diving. Cattle ranching, farming and the cultivation of citrus followed, with Florida leading the southeast in farm income, as well as producing 67% of the U.S. oranges, accounting for approximately 40% of the world’s orange juice supply. The tourism, real estate, trade, banking, and retirement destination businesses were later developed in the state, becoming important economic drivers. As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 89.3 million visitors in 2012, up 2.3 percent compared with a year earlier.*
*Source: Orlando Sentinel, Feb 18, 2013
The climate has always been one of Florida’s most important natural resources and is reflected in its official nickname, the “Sunshine State.” South Florida has a tropical climate and is known around the world for its balmy weather. Summers throughout the state are long, warm, and fairly humid with a defined rainy season from June through September. Winters are mild with periodic cool spells due to occasional cold fronts that push through. Winter temperatures in South Florida range from daytime highs of 64 to 77º Fahrenheit to lows of around 40º Fahrenheit. Summer temperatures are normally in the range of the low 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit throughout any 24-hour period. Coastal areas in all regions of Florida average slightly warmer temperatures in winter and cooler ones in summer compared to the inland parts of the state.
The primary factors affecting the state’s climate are its latitude and the numerous inland lakes. Proximity to the currents of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico also plays an important role. Easterly winds off the warm waters of the Gulf Stream running through the Florida Straits keep temperatures moderate across the southern peninsula year round.
Florida’s population (2012) is 19,552,860, ranking behind only California, Texas and New York. The number of people who move to Florida each day is 1,000. Florida has over 1,200 miles of sandy beaches and there are more than 1,250 golf courses in Florida (more than any other state).
Florida has approximately 4,500 islands larger than ten acres (only Alaska claims more in the U.S). Lake Okeechobee, which covers 700 square miles, is the second largest freshwater lake in the United States. Palm Beach is the states largest county, with 2,578 square miles.
The Florida State Tree is the Sabal Palm, native to Florida. Hearts of palm are the bud of the tree. The Florida State Butterfly is the Zebra Longwing. It is a common sight in Florida as the adult butterfly has a long lifespan due to its consumption of pollen as well as nectar, extending its lifespan from roughly two weeks to about three months.
Florida as a state has an enviable standing and some would claim it has the perfect climate for business. The state has an AAA bond rating and operated with a budget surplus in 2013. In fact, Florida has the fourth-largest GDP in the country and the 21st-largest economy in the world. The state has put a lot of legislation into building a business-friendly environment, with 2,800 regulations recently cut by Florida government leaders. Florida’s stable and highly favorable tax climate provides advantages that make Florida a location profitable for many types of businesses.
Florida has …
NO corporate income tax on limited partnerships.
NO corporate income tax on sub chapter S-corporations.
NO state personal income tax guaranteed by constitutional provision.
NO corporate franchise tax on capitol stock.
NO state-level property tax assessed.
NO property tax on business inventories.
NO property tax on goods-in-transit for up to 180 days.
NO sales and use tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for export outside the state.
NO sales tax on purchases of raw materials incorporated in a final product for resale, including non-reusable containers or packaging.
Information regarding these and additional taxes can be found at www.stateofflorida.com. There are many excellent reasons businesses are relocating or expanding to the east coast of South Florida. County business development boards provide experts to assist business relocation and expansion needs in order to take advantage of incentives and assistance programs.
The availability of health care options and skilled medical personnel can be of paramount importance when choosing a second home or a retirement home. Plenty of award-winning options are available on the east coast of South Florida, from hospital facilities to continuing care and assisted living facilities throughout the region. The many public and private health care systems to choose from in the area include the following:
Bethesda Memorial – Boynton Beach – www.bethesdaweb.com
Good Samaritan – West Palm Beach – www.goodsamaritanmc.com
St. Mary’s Medical Center – West Palm Beach – www.stmarysmc.com
JFK Medical Center – Atlantis – www.jfkmc.com
Wellington Regional Medical Center – Wellington – www.wellingtonregional.com
Delray Medical Center – Delray Beach – www.delraymedicalcenter.com
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center – Palm Beach Gardens – www.pbgmc.com
Columbia Hospital – West Palm Beach – www.columbiahospital.com
Jupiter Medical Center – Jupiter – www.jupitermed.com
Bascon Palmer Eye Institute – Palm Beach Gardens – www.bascompalmer.org
Boca Raton Regional Hospital – Boca Raton – www.brrh.com
Jackson Health System – Miami – www.jhsmiami.org
Mercy Hospital – Miami – www.mercymiami.org
University of Miami Hospital – Miami – www.umiamihospital.com
Mount Sinai Medical Center – Miami Beach – www.msmc.com
Baptist Health South Florida - www.baptisthealth.net