George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Tom Brady jo⁠i⁠ns ⁠t⁠he Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Here’s why you should cons⁠i⁠der Flor⁠i⁠da, ⁠t⁠oo

By: Dr. J. Robert McClure / 2020

On behalf of a grateful state, I would like to welcome the Greatest of All Time – Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. – to the Sunshine State. As a lifelong “Anybody but the Pats” fan, I must admit that cheering for TB12 will take some adjusting to, but I’m hopeful that the arrival of arguably the best QB ever to set foot on the gridiron will energize the 2020 football season in Tampa.

Tampa isn’t the only beneficiary of this move – the decision by Tom Brady to relocate to Florida will have fairly substantial benefits for him as well, and not just on the field. In making the move from the Bay State, Mr. Brady is ensuring additional millions in take-home pay every year.

How’s that? Well, Massachusetts is one of 43 states that levy a state tax on income generated within its borders. Florida is among the seven that do not. Massachusetts has a flat 5.5 percent rate on income, and NFL teams generally play eight home games per season.

If the reports of Brady’s contract are accurate ($25 million per season for two years), then playing those games in Raymond James Stadium as opposed to Gillette Stadium would net Brady an additional $2,750,000 by not having to pay a state income tax.

Not too shabby.

While the reasons for Brady’s departure are almost certainly more than dollars, cents, and tax rates, it bears mentioning that this is a decision that happens every day of the year. During 2018 (most recent data), census and IRS data indicate that Florida netted a total of 132,000 people from other states and 175,000 people from abroad.

That works out to 841 new residents – every single day. And with them, they brought roughly $16 billion in income. They came from high-tax, high-regulation states like New York, Connecticut, Illinois, California, and yes — Massachusetts.

They came to the Sunshine State because we have shown that if you operate in ways that promote limited government, fiscal responsibility, and entrepreneurialism – you can accomplish a great deal.

What Florida proves, time and again, is that individuals are far better served with their own money than with government money. As for Tom Brady’s extra cash, I am fairly confident that money will find its way into Florida’s economy and create more opportunity and prosperity than it would be getting siphoned off for state bureaucracy.

In the current environment in which the COVID-19 pandemic takes most of the energy out of all other news, it’s important to recognize that this crisis will come to conclusion at some point in the not-too-distant future.

We will come to the other side of all this uncertainty and life will return to normal.

We will want to go to football games, and soccer matches, and see our loved ones flourish and prosper. And as we extricate ourselves from self-quarantine and social distancing, we should take note of how best to position our economy to recover and thrive long-term.

We have figured that out in Florida and it appears Tom Brady has as well.

Dr. Bob McClure is president and CEO of The James Madison Institute, a non-partisan, free-market think tank based in Tallahassee, devoted to research and education on public policy issues.

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