Billionaires bolt to Florida amid high-tax state exodus

Florida has gained some extremely wealthy residents over the past few years, as some powerful business leaders seek warmer temperatures, lower taxes – or both.

A recently imposed $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions has accelerated an exodus of wealthy taxpayers from high-tax states, but some billionaires had their sights set on the Sunshine State before the move became even more financially fruitful.

Florida has no statewide income tax, estate tax or inheritance tax. Meanwhile, for example, New York's top income tax rate is more than 8 percent.


As previously reported by FOX Business, an individual or couple earning $650,000 in ordinary income could save $69,719 per year by moving from New York to Florida. Individuals leaving New Jersey for Florida could save more than $58,300 annually.

That helps explain why Florida is the number one largest beneficiary from relocations out of all 50 states – by a landslide. The Sunshine State drew in a net influx of about $17.7 billion in adjusted gross income in 2016 alone.

Here’s a look at some of the billionaires that the state has won over throughout recent years:

President Donald Trump is pictured in this file photo.

President Trump

President Trump announced earlier this month that he was changing his primary residence from New York to Palm Beach, Florida, where his Mar-a-Lago resort is located. In a tweet he said New York will always have a special place in his heart, despite paying millions in taxes and being "treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state."

Trump was born in Queens and has been a lifelong New Yorker, though he has recently been extremely critical of the state’s tax policies.


In July, the president slammed Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the state’s high taxes and hostile business climate, saying it is “no wonder” both people and businesses were “fleeing New York in record numbers.”

According to Forbes, Trump’s net worth is about $3.1 billion.

Carl Icahn appears on FOX Business in New York, Feb. 11, 2014. (Reuters, File/Brendan McDermid)

Carl Icahn

Last month, it was revealed that billionaire investor Carl Icahn – who was also born in New York –would be moving with his business to Florida at the beginning of next year, as first reported by The New York Post.

He will reportedly shut his New York City Icahn Enterprises offices around March, with plans to relocate to Miami.

Icahn’s move is not explicitly for tax purposes – sources have told several media outlets that it is more of a lifestyle change.

Leon Cooperman is pictured in this file photo.

Leon Cooperman

Billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman – who recently made headlines for engaging in a Twitter feud with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – is another wealthy individual who left the Northeast (New Jersey) for the Sunshine State.

Cooperman now lives in Boca Raton – and was listed as one of the wealthiest people in Southwest Florida.

David Tepper is pictured on Nov. 30, 2014, in Pittsburgh. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

David Tepper

Hedge fund billionaire David Tepper sent shockwaves through New Jersey when it was revealed that he was changing his domicile to Florida.

Tepper also relocated his hedge fund Appaloosa Management to Miami.

As reported by The New York Times in 2016, it was estimated that Tepper’s move could cost New Jersey hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

According to Forbes, Tepper’s net worth is an estimated $12 billion.

Paul Tudor Jones attends an event on Jan. 21, 2016, in New York City. (Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)

Paul Tudor Jones II

Another hedge fund manager – Paul Tudor Jones II – left Connecticut in 2016 for Florida.

Jones – the head of Tudor Investment Corp., moved to Palm Beach. His firm has offices in Connecticut, New York, Palm Beach, London, Singapore and Sydney.

Jones’ net worth is estimated at $5.1 billion, per Forbes.

Edward Lampert listens during a news conference in New York, Nov. 17, 2004. (Gregory Bull/AP, File)

Eddie Lampert

Former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert also left Connecticut for Florida in 2012 – bringing along the hedge fund he runs, ESL Investments.

Barry Sternlicht attends an event on Nov. 05, 2019, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Barry Sternlicht

The billionaire co-founder of Starwood Capital Group left Connecticut for Florida in 2016.

At the time, he said Greenwich had the worst housing market in the U.S. and that he was leaving because Connecticut’s taxes were too high, as reported by Bloomberg.

Sternlicht also moved Starwood Capital’s headquarters from Greenwich to Miami.