Time Magazine: Florida not so hot

Fireworks at Walt Disney World

Time Magazine: "Is Florida the sunshine state?"
"We're facing our worst real estate meltdown since the Depression. We've got a water crisis, insurance crisis, environmental crisis and budget crisis to go with our housing crisis. We're first in the nation in mortgage fraud, second in foreclosures, last in high school graduation rates. Our consumer confidence just hit an all-time low, and our icons are in trouble--the citrus industry, battered by freezes and diseases; the Florida panther, displaced by highways and driveways; the space shuttle, approaching its final countdown. New research suggests that the Everglades is collapsing, that our barrier beaches could be under water within decades, that a major hurricane could cost us $150 billion.

We do wish you were here, because attracting outsiders has always been our primary economic engine, and our engine is sputtering. Population growth is at a 30-year low. School enrollment is declining. Retirees are drifting to the Southwest and the Carolinas, while would-be Floridians who bought preconstruction condos in more optimistic times are scrambling--and often suing--to break contracts. This is our dotcom bust, except worse, because our local governments are utterly dependent on construction for tax revenues, so they're slashing school and public-transportation budgets that were already among the nation's stingiest. "This may be our tipping point," says former Senator Bob Graham."