It’s Official, Sean Hannity Headed South!
Sean Hannity is a familiar name to anyone who has watched Fox News or listened to Fox Radio. He hosts the second-highest-rated show on cable news, and ranks just behind Rush Limbaugh on talk radio. Hannity is a native son of New York. He has broadcast both his radio and television programs from New York City since the early 1990s. His political viewpoints are clearly conservative, and he is even a registered Conservative voter, a political affiliation recognized by the State of New York.
Any viewer who watches his show knows that if a guest wants to raise Hannity’s ire, all they need to do is bring up the subject of taxes on wealthy individuals. In what usually escalates into a contentious discussion, Hannity is quick to point out that he has paid more than his fair share, with well over half of his income going directly to taxes. A 2014 poll of the highest taxed states in the country (conducted by the Tax Foundation and reported in the Fiscal Times) shows that his home state of New York decidedly tops the list.
Back in January, New York governor Mario Cuomo made a disparaging remark directed towards conservatives, criticizing their values and saying that they have “no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Hannity wasted no time in registering his heated response. First intolerably high taxes, and now an attack on his values. He announced squarely to Governor Cuomo that he was leaving, and taking with him “all of my money, every single solitary cent.” And as a final swipe at the governor, he announced that he would also be relocating his entire broadcast operation out of New York, resulting in a significant loss of tax revenue, as well as more lost jobs for a state that is currently ranked thirty-sixth highest in unemployment, nationally.
Many thought this was just a knee-jerk reaction that would certainly pass, but behind the scenes, Hannity was quite serious and began the process by listing his Long Island home for sale. He considered two states as his possible destination, both with zero personal income taxes: Texas and Florida. After all, former New Yorker Rush Limbaugh had successfully moved his entire operation out of the Empire State because of high taxes. He now broadcasts from his studio in Palm Beach, Florida. Governor Rick Scott of Florida and Governor Rick Perry of Texas each appeared as guests on Hannity’s show, attempting to make their best recruitment pitches for their respective states.
But recently in an interview with Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Hannity, the host made his intentions official to his audience. He told Senator Rubio “You’re soon going to be my senator.” Somewhat surprised, Rubio asked if that was his final decision. Hannity quickly replied, “I’m going to Florida, and I’m going to get a little Texas ranch. . . .I’ve decided I’m leaving New York when my kid graduates high school.” Needless to say, Rubio replied”We’re glad to have you in Florida.” (Hannity’s city of choice in Florida? That would be Naples.)
With his announcement, Hannity not only pleased two governors and a Florida senator, he also showed one other governor that a taxpayer could only be pushed so far, and that those who could afford to leave, would. It is an IRS-documented fact that between 1992 and 2010, New York had the greatest out-migration of wealth of any state, totaling over $67 billion. The majority of that adjusted gross income (AGI) found its way to those very same two states of Florida and Texas. Obviously, Sean Hannity is not alone. He is among a score of people, both high-profile and not, who finally threw up their hands in disgust and made that very same decision.