| December 18, 2013

In the driver's seat ... to Florida

Hertz recently broke ground on its new corporate headquarters in Estero, Florida. Not huge news, perhaps. Just another frost belt company heading for the sun as Hertz abandons its longtime corporate headquarters in New Jersey. One reason for the move, obviously, is Florida’s status as one of America’s top business destinations, thanks to the absence of a personal income tax there.

But there’s also an Oklahoma connection. Last year Hertz bought out Dollar Thrifty of Tulsa, its largest competitor. According to an article in Forbes magazine, there was some talk of shifting the corporate headquarters to Tulsa to better complete the Hertz-Dollar Thrifty merger. But, in the end, Florida won, partly because of its zero personal income tax rate and also because of its low 5.5 percent corporate tax rate. That’s a half point better than Oklahoma’s.

Taxes matter. Low taxes spur economic growth and make some states more attractive than others. Now, in just the latest reminder of that fact, the company that puts people in the driver’s seat has spurned Oklahoma and is driving off to the tax and growth haven in the Sunshine State instead.

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