If you want a sense of how many New Yorkers move to Florida in their retirement years, look no further than this number: $708 million.
That’s how much New York’s pension system paid out to Florida residents in 2014; the number represented 7 percent of the system’s total benefit payout.
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Florida is luring more than just New York’s residents. It’s also absorbing a growing pile of cash from the state’s largest pension.
The New York State and Local Retirement System, the third-largest U.S. public plan, paid $708 million to Floridians in fiscal 2014, or about 7 percent of the total, its financial report shows. That’s up about 50 percent in the past decade and was the biggest share of its $1.9 billion of payments out of state.
The obligations weaken the argument that defined-benefit systems prop up local economies as workers retire. The payments to 34,374 Sunshine State residents mirror a migration south to Florida, which last year overtook New York as the third-most-populous state.
“The one group of people who absolutely are taking money from New York with them are government retirees,” said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a research group that advocates less government spending. “That check from the state goes wherever they are.”
Part of the reason New Yorkers move to Florida is to escape the winter weather. But retirees also flee to Florida to escape taxes – the state has no individual income tax, and New York residents pay some of the highest taxes in the country.
Photo by TaxCredits.net