Destination Florida Commission's final report with recommendations. 
Acknowledgments
The Destination Florida Commission recognizes the valuable contributions of a large number of experts and advocates to the work of the Commission and the development of this report. A special thank you is given to the members of the public who provided comments through letters, e-mails and public commentary.

The following persons are thanked for their time and assistance:
Katherine Andrews, Director, Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, Department of Environmental Protection; Kim Bahrami, Chief Information Officer, State Technology Office; Bob Ballard, Deputy Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection; Jena Brooks, Director, Office of Greenways and Trails, Department of Environmental Protection; Gail Cooper, Director, Statewide Volunteer Program, Department of Health; Annette Phelps, Director, Division of Family Health, Department of Health; Barry Pitegoff, Vice President of Research, Visit Florida; Steve Seibert, former Secretary, Department of Community Affairs; Christine Speer, Assistant Secretary for Finance and Administration, Department of Transportation; Wendy Spencer, Director, State Parks, Department of Environmental Protection; Jim Stevenson, Director, Florida Springs, Department of Environmental Protection; and Christian Weiss, Chief Economist, Department of Revenue.

The Commission would also like to thank Department of Elder Affairs that facilitated public hearings and Governor’s Office staff who provided support and assisted in the facilitation of the process as well as the Northwest Focal Point Senior Day Care Center and the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce

 
Table of Contents

Executive Summary ...................................................................... 1
Summary of Recommendations...................................................... 3
Introduction ................................................................................. 8
Why Attract Amenity Seeking Retirees – Findings.......................... 14
Areas of Discovery ..................................................................... 20
Economic Issues ......................................................................... 20
Health Care Issues....................................................................... 25
Housing Issues............................................................................ 29
Transportation Issues................................................................... 33
Amenity Issues ........................................................................... 36
Information Technology Issues..................................................... 39
Marketing Florida ....................................................................... 41
Recommendations....................................................................... 49
Next Steps.................................................................................. 54
Conclusions................................................................................ 56
References and Citations ............................................................. 57
Appendix

Executive Summary
The importance of the retirement industry as an engine of economic growth should be recognized in the state’s economic development strategic planning process.

 
The mature market represents more than half of all consumer expenditures in Florida and provides over 4
million jobs.
Historically, Florida’s economy has rested on three legs: Tourism,
agriculture and retirees. A healthy retirement industry is critical
for the overall current and future prosperity and well being of the
state of Florida. This report presents the findings and
recommendations of the Destination Florida Commission,
appointed July 29, 2002, by Governor Jeb Bush to evaluate
Florida’s competitive position in attracting retirees and to
recommend ways to make Florida more retiree friendly. The
Commission recommends that to improve its competitiveness in the
retirement market the state should: continue providing retirees a
quality of life superior to that of other states, streamline the
regulatory environment to make it more attuned to the needs of
elders and the retirement industry, and engage in a formal
marketing effort to attract amenity seeking retirees and bolster
the spirit of the current retired population. The importance of the
retirement industry as an engine of economic growth should be
recognized in the state’s economic development strategic planning
process.
What’s in it for Florida? Why attract retirees to a state that
already has the largest percentage of elders in the country? This
report reflects research that has shown that Florida cannot afford
to lose the significant net gain income, services and contributions
that retirees bring to the state. Direct spending by mature
Floridians ( 1 ) and the value of their federal health benefits is
estimated at $150 billion. From a fiscal perspective, Florida’s elder
residents represented a net benefit of $2.8 billion in taxes, to
state and local governments, in the year 2000. These residents
added even more through their participation in employment,
volunteerism, charitable contributions and community
involvement.
The Retirement Industry Advantage. Thinking of retirement as an important industry allows Florida to recognize the economic and social value of current elders and the aging baby boomer population. Retirement is a stable growth industry. Jobs and businesses needed to sustain this industry run the gamut from hospitality to health care, from janitorial workers to neurosurgeons. This report details the Commission’s plan and recommendations to ensure that Florida continues to be an attractive place to retire, and to provide the business and social service infrastructure that will make retirement a sustainable industry.

Quality of Life Issues Explored by the Commission. A quality of life advantage for mature persons will attract new retirees. Improving the quality of life in Florida also serves current residents. The Commission looked at six areas critical in defining quality of life. An evaluation of each of these areas and recommendations for short and long term planning are included in
this report. The six areas are:
 
Economics Often enables or determines when and where to retire.
Health Care Mature Floridians are the major users of the health care infrastructure. With the aging of baby boomers and increased longevity, its impact on quality of life becomes even greater.
Housing A range of choices and options reflecting a wide spectrum of type, cost, size and location allows all residents to achieve their full potential.
Transportation Accessible and affordable transportation means increased independence.
Amenities Desirable characteristics of the potential retirement destination are judged very important in decisions of where to move.
Information Technology Access to information greatly increases the opportunity to telecommute. Future retirees are more likely to move into a “phased-in” retirement with many continuing to work from
their retirement home.

Two Stage Marketing Campaign. This report recommends a marketing plan to attract new amenity seeking residents who are planning a move with retirement objectives. At the same time,
there needs to be an awareness and education campaign to show current Florida residents and policy makers that the value and contributions of Florida’s elder residents more than offset the
costs of enhancing the state’s services and finding better ways to meet current needs.

Summary of Recommendations
Guided by public input, expert presentations and research, the Commission developed recommendations to enhance Florida’s competitive position in attracting retirees. These recommendations are in the areas of:

  • Enhancing the attractiveness of Florida in terms of its quality of life and retiree-friendliness.
  • Designing a marketing plan to attract amenity seeking retirees and bolster the spirit of the current retired population.
  • Using the retirement industry as an engine of economic growth.
The report provides discussion and support for these recommendations. The Commission’s recommendations are listed in prioritized order within each quality of life area with high priority recommendations presented in bold print.

Quality of Life Recommendations
Quality of life recommendations are provided in six broad areas: economic, health, housing, transportation, amenities and information technology.
Economic Issues:
$    Freeze property tax increases for persons 55 or older. Defer increases until death with the
      estate to pay the deferred amount.
$    Implement current legislation to eliminate intangible taxes.
Health Care Issues:
$   Give legislative priority to meaningful tort law reform. The importance of this issue cannot be
     overemphasized. The pernicious effect of obsolete tort law weighs particularly heavy on retirees.
     Rising costs of medical malpractice liability insurance take a heavy toll on the quality of life of
     most, as they restrict the accessibility and availability of many critical services. Note: the 
     Commission is aware that the report of the Governor’s Select Task Force on Healthcare 
     Professional Liability Insurance was expected January 31, 2003; also, a legislative joint select
     committee was created in December 2002 to find ways to help nursing homes get liability
     insurance.
$   Prioritize surplus aging services dollars to provide services to elders on the current waiting list.
$   Make more funding available for home and community-based services to ensure services to the
     approximately 15,000 elders on the current waiting list - 2,500 of whom are in immediate need
     of services.
$   Ensure that the long-term care network is better coordinated and fragmentation reduced. The
     creation and placement of the Office of Long-Term Care Policy in the Department of Elder 
     Affairs should help to achieve these goals.
$   Foster the development of “regional facilities of excellence” to provide health care. This may 
     require the review and streamlining of current regulations, such as “certificate of need” rules, that
     may be hindering access to high quality services in the areas of the state where economic
     development--through the retirement industry--is needed most.
$   Create, support and market incentives to recruit nurses. Encourage partnerships with hospitals
     and community colleges to expand nurse-training opportunities.
$   Ensure the maximization of federal matching (Medicaid) dollars to expand services.
$   Assure that caregivers, who provide the majority of longterm care, have adequate support to
     meet the needs of family members.
$   Create and market incentives to recruit and retain home care workers, nursing home staff and
     doctors.
$   Continue to emphasize more geriatric training within Florida schools of medicine.
$   Provide more education to elders and baby boomers about long-term care insurance.

Housing Issues:
$   Review current lien and mandatory disclosure laws to make disclosures consumer friendly. 
     Promote greater coordination among state agencies and consumer education to protect 
     seniors against predators.
$   Introduce incentives for new homebuyers and educate them about existing programs such as
     the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP).
$   Educate homebuyers and owners about positive and negative aspects of ownership issues
     such as homeowners associations.
$   Ensure and promote a range of housing choices and options reflecting a wide spectrum of
     type, cost, size and location.

Transportation Issues:
  Assure adequate mass transit is available in all areas of the state.
$   Increase local demand-response transportation specifically designed for the needs of 
     non-ambulatory older persons.
$   Work with the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged to ensure that elder issues 
     are addressed and to insure that its activities foster the development of satisfactory practices
     for the provision of demand-response transportation.
$   Consider the provision of discount cards and vouchers to seniors to assist with taxi and bus 
     transportation costs.
$   Aggressively pursue strategies to obtain a higher return of Florida’s federal transportation 
     taxes to strengthen the state’s transit systems.

Amenity Issues:
$    Improve education about Florida’s natural amenities through existing publications, tourism
      materials and mass media.
$   Continue to protect Florida’s natural resources and parks so they may continue to attract future
      generations.
$   Continue to promote natural amenities and volunteer opportunities.
$   Develop and distribute welcome packets for new residents.
$   Work with Visit Florida, Chambers of Commerce, local economic development councils and
     companies that recruit employees from out of state to promote Florida’s image.

Information Technology Issues:
$   Study high-speed Internet access issues.
$   Provide Internet access in rural areas. Overall Quality of Life Recommendation:
$   Pursue and promote Communities for a Lifetime, an initiative of Governor Bush and the 
     Department of Elder Affairs, to help Florida communities become better places to live, 
     providing all residents with the opportunity to achieve their full potential and contribute to the 
     betterment of their communities. Through this initiative, communities establish partnerships and
     engage in a selfassessment and planning process addressing a variety of areas including 
     universal design for housing, accessibility, health care, transportation and the efficient use of 
     natural resources.
Marketing Plan Recommendations
The Commission recommendation is for the state to develop a campaign with the following two objectives:
$    Attract persons aged 50 and older, paying particular attention to amenity seeking baby
      boomers, to relocate to/retire in Florida; and
$    Educate and promote awareness to show current Florida residents and policy makers the
      value and contributions of mature residents.

The Retirement Industry as an Instrument of Economic Development

  • The retirement industry should be viewed as an important instrument for economic development and diversification. However, for the retirement industry to continue to develop in Florida, the business and social infrastructure necessary to attract retirees needs to be improved.
  • Recruitment may best be targeted to those areas of Florida that are more in need of economic development and have amenities and services to be promoted.

  • Because the retirement industry is an important factor in the state’s economic growth and diversification, a representative from the Department of Elder Affairs needs to be included in the Enterprise Florida strategic planning process.
          INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND
Since the 1950s, Florida has been a destination of choice for migrating retirees. In the 1980s, Florida began to see a decline in the number of seniors choosing to relocate and retire in the state.
The percentage of persons age 60 and older migrating to Florida continues to drop. From 1960 to 1980, approximately 25 percent of all interstate retirement moves had a Florida destination. By the
late 1990s, Florida’s share of retirement relocations had dropped to 20 percent. While many factors may have contributed to this decline, there is little doubt that a major contributor to this trend
has been a growing awareness of the value of the mature population to destination communities, resulting in increased competition to lure seniors by other states.
Florida’s mature residents, while making up onethird of the state’s population, account for about half of all income and consumer spending.
 
Seniors make significant contributions to the economy and society. A May 2002 report by Thomas, Warren and Associates, The Impacts of Mature Residents of Florida ( 2 ), found mature Floridians, while making up one-third of the state’s population, account for about half of all income and consumer spending. It also found that mature Floridians provide the state with about $2.7 billion from sales and use taxes while costing the state about $1.28 billion in health and human service expenditures. Florida’s mature residents paid taxes in excess of services received with a 
net economic benefit of $2.8 billion in taxes, to state and local governments, in the year 2000. In addition to the financial benefits, the report describes the numerous social benefits such as senior volunteerism, donations to charities, support of the arts and civic participation.

Recognizing that Florida stands to lose billions in economic and other community benefits, such as charitable contributions, volunteerism, intergenerational connections and other community enhancements that come from the sharing of life experiences and wisdom, Governor Bush stated, “We are committed to maintaining our first place ranking, and will aggressively sell the advantages of living in Florida to all of our nation’s seniors.”

Commission Charge
On July 29, 2002, Governor Bush announced the creation of a Destination Florida Commission to evaluate Florida’s competitive position in attracting and retaining retirees and to recommend ways
to make Florida more retiree friendly in the future.

A six-month statewide Destination Florida Commission was formed to assess the state’s readiness for the future. The Commission was given the following charge:
$   Look at ways to retain Florida’s position as the nation’s most desirable retirement destination;
$    Evaluate Florida’s current attractiveness to older baby boomers;
$   Develop recommendations for improving Florida’s competitive position in attracting seniors;
$   Examine ways to make Florida a user-friendly environment for people in all stages of retirement
     as begun under the Governor’s Communities for a Lifetime initiative;
$   Recommend programs to ensure adequate services are available at all stages of aging; and
$   Work with business to ensure the affordability, availability and accessibility of services and 
     products for retirees.

Commissioners
The Governor, with input from the Secretaries of the state agencies that work to strengthen Florida’s families, appointed the following experts in the areas of health care, housing, social services, marketing and promotion, professional services, geriatrics, transportation and information technology to serve on the Commission:

Don Shula, honorary chair of the Commission, served 33 years as an NFL coach and founder of a successful restaurant business. Mr. Shula will share his insights and knowledge in community
amenities and business. He lives in Miami where he served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins for 26 years.
T. O’Neal Douglas, chair of the Commission, is the retired chairman and CEO of the American Heritage Life Insurance Company. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in business, insurance and economics. He is also former chairman of the Florida TaxWatch. He lives in Jacksonville.
Mae-Louise Baker, a retired professor from Florida State University, has experience in the transportation process. She lives in Tallahassee.
Sena Black, senior vice president of marketing and information, Enterprise Florida, has more than 20 years experience in economic development and has authored more than 20 publications in her field of expertise. She lives in Orlando.
Tess Canja, immediate past president of AARP, served on the Governor’s Commission on Aging to help develop the Department of Elder Affairs. She lives in Port Charlotte and is knowledgeable
about aging issues.
Pam Dana, director of the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, is responsible for the development and implementation of trade and investment policies and
programs leading to economic growth in Florida. She lives in Tallahassee.
Irene DeLaby, a retired educator and education administrator, is an active volunteer and has led the 6,000 Florida state park volunteers. She lives in Homosassa Springs and brings expertise
on community amenities.
Otto “Buz” DiVosta, president, DiVosta Investments, LLC, has built more than 24,000 residences with his organizations during the past 42 years. He lives in Palm Beach Gardens and has expertise in quality construction and the residential building industry.
Pedro J. Greer, Jr., M.D., a physician in Miami, currently serves as the Department of Elder Affairs Advisory Council chair. He operates a medical clinic in Miami and is an international
lecturer. He has extensive experience in health care and housing issues.
Maritza Gutierrez, owner of Creative Ideas Advertising in Miami, has been involved in public relations and marketing for 20 years. She will assist with marketing Florida’s image.
RAdm. Daniel Lestage, M.D., U.S. Navy (ret.) from Orange Park, is certified in preventive medicine and is a fellow in preventive medicine. He retired as Inspector General for the Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery at the Naval Medical Department in Washington, D.C., and offers his experience in health care management and delivery.
Barbara Lindstrom, a field coordinator with the National Benevolent Association, has special expertise in housing issues. She lives in St. Petersburg and is an advocate for the elderly on
housing issues.
Clarence McKee, CEO and president of McKee Communications, Inc. and McKee Acquisitions Corp., works in the area of radio, television and cable property acquisitions. He is a resident of
Tampa.
Richard A. Nunis, president of New Business Solutions, has special expertise in community amenities and tourism. He is a member of the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees
and lives in Orlando.
John Ruffin, Jr., president and CEO of The Ruffin Group, is a leader in information technology. He lives in Coral Springs.
William J. Schoen, chairman of Health Management Associates, lives in Naples and brings special knowledge of health care and geriatrics.

Time Line
July 29, 2002                               Governor Bush announces creation of Commission
August 29, 2002                          First Commission meeting in Tampa
September 18, 2002                  Public hearings in Margate and Fort Myers
September 30, 2002                  Commission meeting and public comments in Tallahassee
October 31, 2002                        Commission meeting and public comments in Orlando
November 15, 2002                    Interim report presented to the Governor
November 25, 2002                    Public hearing in Pensacola
December 2, 2002                      Commission meeting in Jacksonville
January 21, 2003                         Commission meeting in Orlando
February 2003                             Final report presented to the Governor and the Secretary of the
                                                       Department of Elder Affairs

Commission Approach
To fulfill its objective to retain Florida’s position as the premier retirement destination in the country, the Commission engaged in a process of discovery to evaluate how competitive Florida is in meeting the demand for the amenities that are sought by retirees. Based on the professional experience of the members of the Commission and on Department of Elder Affairs’ research, six areas of discovery were identified. Analysis of these areas helped to assess Florida’s ability to attract mature retirees and to develop methods for removing barriers and enhancing Florida’s lifestyle image and appeal as retirement friendly.

The six areas of discovery agreed upon by Commission members were:
$     Economics
$     Health Care
$     Housing
$     Transportation
$     Amenities - Environmental and Community
$     Information Technology
To assist the Commission with their assessment and recommendations, a series of meetings were scheduled to discuss and probe into the discovery areas and to listen to presentations
by experts. To obtain public input, several Commission meetings included time for public comment. To ensure input from residents of diverse areas of the state and areas with high retirement populations, town hall meetings were held in Margate, Fort Myers and Pensacola. Additional public comment was solicited and considered through written comment. Agendas and minutes of the meetings are included in the appendix. The appendix also contains copies of expert presentations to the Commission.

As meetings were held and public input obtained, it became clear that the Commission could not look at the issue of attracting new retirees to Florida without paying close attention to how Florida is meeting its current elder citizen needs. It was agreed that current needs must be considered during the review of the areas of discovery and development of recommendations.

Commission Report
This report presents a discussion on each of the areas of discovery. Looking at practices and policies that encourage seniors to live in Florida and looking at barriers, challenges and policies that discourage retiree migration, this report presents conclusions and recommendations for policy development and change. The report also recommends a marketing plan to attract new retirees and provide education and awareness for current residents and policy makers.
While this report is intended to fully meet the charge given to the Commission by Governor Bush, the Commission is willing to continue to provide its assistance at the pleasure of the Governor
and the Legislature.
 

WHAT’S IN IT FOR FLORIDA?
WHY ATTRACT AMENITY SEEKING RETIREES – FINDINGS
Much of the early Commission discussion centered on why Florida was interested in recruiting retirees. This question was asked of Commission members and the public who attended public hearings.

The Commission found that:

Florida needs to maintain its status as the Nation’s premier retirement destination because:

1.    Mature residents are one of the main engines that drive Florida’s economy. In 2000, they paid $2.8 billion in state and local taxes in excess of services received.
2.    The sustainability of Florida’s growth depends on its ability to continue to attract mature residents.
3.    The retirement industry is clean, and its benefits are spread to other high job creating industries such as hospitality, construction, and health care.
4.   Relative to other states, Florida has an unmatched competitive advantage in the retirement industry. Therefore, the state should proactively exploit this advantage to improve the lives of Floridians of all ages.
In addition, the Commission found that:
5.    In spite of the wealth of evidence to the contrary, there is a general lack of awareness and many misconceptions about the importance of the retirement industry in Florida. This lack of awareness extends to many policy makers and elected officials.

The following summarize the arguments that support these key findings:
  • 1) Mature residents are one of the main engines that drive Florida’s economy:
  • Contrary to popular belief, mature Floridians have per capita incomes that are substantially higher than their younger counterparts. In the year 2000, the per capita income for mature Floridians was 25 percent higher -- $29,820-- than for Floridians between ages 18 to 49 -- $23,910.
  • In the year 2000, mature Floridians spent a total of $135.4 billion. This figure is almost $12.5 billion more than what was spent by their younger counterparts. Although the mature market represents only 33.3 percent of the population, its expenditures were 55 percent of all consumer expenditures. On a per capita basis, mature Floridians spent almost $2.50 for every dollar spent by Floridians ages 18 to 49.
  • In the year 2000, consumer expenditures by Florida’s mature residents were responsible for 4.2 million jobs among the state’s workforce of 7.5 million workers.
  • In the year 2000, financial industry estimates put the value of assets in deposit by Floridians mature Floridians at $320 billion.
  • Every month in the year 2000, $2.8 billion in Social Security and military retirement payments are transferred to mature Floridians; these payments represent over $60 billion in direct and indirect spending. Federal transfers on behalf of mature Floridians account for about 55 percent of the amount of Florida’s total share of Federal revenue.
  • In the year 2000, for every dollar that Florida workers and employers paid in Social Security taxes, the state received $1.40 in social security benefits for its citizens.
  • In the year 2000, Florida’s mature residents contributed over $3.5 billion to charities and other philanthropic causes.
  • They also contributed heavily with their time and talent donating 7.5 million person days.
  • On a per capita basis, mature Floridians pay substantially more in sales taxes than their younger counterparts. In the year 2000, each mature Floridian paid an average of $508 in

  • sales taxes, while the average younger Floridian paid only $298. Therefore, mature Floridians paid, on a per capita basis, $1.70 in sales taxes for every dollar paid by their
    younger counterparts 

    Mature Floridians paid the bulk of two general revenue taxes: estate and intangibles taxes. In 2001, mature Floridians paid $225 per capita for these two taxes, while their younger counterparts paid only $14.

  • Florida is home to 1.7 million veterans, representing the second largest veteran population of any state. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spends approximately $3 billion annually in veterans’ benefits and services in Florida. In 2001, Florida’s military retirees received $3.35 billion in retirement pay.
  • In the year 2000, the net financial impact by mature residents in state and local taxes was $2.8 billion ( 3 ). Mature Floridians paid $1.4 billion more in state taxes than they received in social services. During that same year, mature residents produced another $1.4 billion surplus in local taxes ($1 billion in school district taxes and about $400 million in property taxes beyond local services received).
2) The sustainability of Florida’s growth depends on its ability to continue to attract mature residents:
  • A substantial decrease in the number of retirees coming to Florida would have dramatic implications for Florida’s future. A continuing 10 percent drop in the flow of mature retirement migrants would result in a loss of 42,000 jobs by 2005, 80,000 by 2010, and about 144,000 jobs by 2020.
  • The associated fiscal impacts of even a 10 percent drop in the retiree flow would also be severe. Retail expenditure losses of $1.5 billion by 2005, $3.5 billion by 2010, and $10.8 billion by 2020 would be expected.
  • A diminished flow of retirees coming to Florida would mean higher taxes for current residents. On a per household basis, local and school district taxes paid by mature residents keep the overall level of these taxes for other residents lower than they would be, to the tune of $260 per household per year.
  • There are indications that the retiree migration to Florida has slowed down as other states have started to compete with Florida for retirees. During the decade of the 1990’s, the percentage of all retirement migrants selecting Florida as their destination dropped by 11 percent.
  • Another significant developing trend is that of mature Floridians moving to other states. In the year 2000, about 59,000 mature residents left the state.
  • Due to higher mortality, it is impossible to sustain Florida’s age pyramid without significant mature migration from other states. Without these migratory inflows, Florida will have an age structure similar to the nation’s within 20 years.
3) The retirement industry is clean, and its benefits are spread to other high job creating industries such as hospitality, construction, and health care:
  • From an environmental perspective, the retirement industry is cleaner than traditional manufacturing, mining, or agriculture. It has a low intensity of use of natural resources.
  • In Florida, as much as 50 percent of all residential construction is tied to the mature market. Residential construction is a $41 billion per year industry. Therefore, the mature market accounts for over $20 billion in residential construction and 100,000 good paying construction jobs.
  • The home building industry pays over $400 million per year in local county and education district taxes; therefore, about $200 million in local government and education district construction taxes can be attributed to the mature market.
  • In the year 2000, Florida hosted about 16.8 million mature tourists and part-time residents. These persons, approximately 24 percent of adult tourists, accounted for a large share of the $91.1 billion hospitality industry’s taxable sales revenue and added to the need for 852,300 direct travel related jobs.
  • Florida’s health care industry depends on the mature market for its technical and financial viability. For example, in the year 2000, mature Floridians paid $9 billion in out-of-pocket expenses for medical care, and the federal government, through Medicare and Veterans Affairs, paid on their behalf an additional $18.4 billion. This represented $27.4 billion in expenditures and accounted for two out of every three dollars of the industry’s revenue. This funding helps support the health care infrastructure that benefits Floridians of all ages.
  • Medicare payments made on behalf of mature Floridians also compensate hospitals for the training of medical personnel. As a consequence, Florida attracts many physicians and nurses whose training has been subsidized by other states.
  • Due to higher mortality, it is impossible to sustain Florida’s age pyramid without significant mature migration from other states. Without these migratory inflows, Florida will have an age structure similar to the nation’s within 20 years.
4) Relative to other states, Florida has an unmatched competitive advantage in the retirement industry. Therefore, the state should proactively exploit this advantage to improve the lives of Floridians of all ages:
  • Florida’s competitiveness in attracting retirees is difficult to match: Warm weather throughout the year, lower cost of living, close to the major population centers of the Midwest and Northeast, and attractive amenities. Furthermore, owing to the large size of its current mature population, the living environment is senior friendly; businesses, government, and other citizens are aware of the needs of older citizens.
  • To strengthen its competitive position, Florida has to approach retirement migration as an ongoing high priority economic development strategy.
  • The effort to maintain Florida’s position as the premier retirement destination in America has to go beyond marketing. We must do better. We need to identify existing regulatory impediments to the retirement industry. We must work hard to identify how we can make the state a better community for others to retire to, and we need to make sure that the public understands that, when we make things better for mature residents, we improve the lives of all Floridians.
5) There is a general lack of awareness and many misconceptions about the importance of the retirement industry in Florida:
  • There is general lack of awareness among the public and many policy makers of the importance of retirement migration as an engine of economic growth. The lack of awareness stems from incorrect, long held ideas about aging and the contributions of retirees to society.
  • The Florida Strategic Plan For Economic Development 2002-2007, the state’s blueprint for economic development, does not mention the retirement industry at all and instead concentrates its efforts into areas where Florida is, at best, on an equal footing with other states, and with other countries. Case in point: the 2000-2001 annual report of the state’s economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, highlights “Positioning Florida as a High Tech Hub” and “Growing A Global Hub for Trade and Business Development.” Both are worthy enterprises, but they lack the stability of the retirement industry. Furthermore, the retirement industry is already an important factor in the state’s economic growth and diversification. Because of this, the Commission recommends that a representative from the Department of Elder Affairs be included in the Enterprise Florida strategic planning process.
  • While Florida devotes resources to promote short stay tourism, it has not devoted the same attention to attracting retirees. At the same time, other states such as Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia are devoting substantial marketing resources to eat into Florida’s share of the market.
AREAS OF DISCOVERY
Economic Issues
Economics can often be the determining factor in why a person can or cannot relocate to the state.
Florida has many economic features conducive to retiree migration. The Commission listed the following positive attributes:
$    Florida has a Governor sensitive to the need to recruit more elders.
$    Florida has favorable tax circumstances such as no state income tax, a homestead
      exemption, and “Save Our Homes,” a constitutional amendment that limits
      increases in value for residential property with a homestead exemption.
$    Age is not a barrier for volunteering, and the state encourages older worker
      employment opportunities.
$    Lifelong learning opportunities are available at community colleges and
      universities.
$    Economic conditions in Florida are better than in many other states.

Discussion of Economic Issues
The Commission wanted to explore economic issues in three domains: taxation, work opportunities including volunteerism, and cost of living. Presentations were made by two experts at the October 31, 2002, meeting in Orlando. Mr. Christian Weiss, Chief Economist, Florida Department of Revenue, discussed the national economic perspective and how state taxes affect elders. Commissioner Sena Black, Vice President of Enterprise Florida, spoke about the role that Enterprise Florida has in creating jobs, particularly high value added jobs (see handout with minutes in appendix).

Taxation: Overall, Florida is a low tax state with a constitutional prohibition of personal income taxes. Florida’s main source of revenue is the sales tax, which accounts for about half of the taxes
collected by the state. Table 1, below, shows details of Florida’s tax structure.

Table 1. ( 4 )
Florida Tax Revenue By Source
Tax Source Tax Source Share of State
Revenue SFY 2000-01
Sales Tax 47.6%
Other Taxes (includes Estate,
Intangibles, Stamp and Recordation)
30%
Gas and Motor Vehicle 8.5%
Corporate Income Tax 4.8%
Sin Taxes (Alcohol, cigarettes, betting) 4.7%
Lottery 4.3%
Total Taxation $31,199.5 Million

Local governments derive most of their income from ad-valorem taxes on property and from local option sales and fuel taxes. Property taxes in Florida have a homestead exemption of up to
$25,000 per homestead. 

Florida is considered a low tax burden state. Florida ranks as the 5th lowest among the states in the percent of a person’s income that is spent on state and local taxes, at $1,521 per person or 5.5
percent of personal income. When county taxes are added, the total tax burden per citizen is $2,663 or 10 percent of personal income. Again, this makes Florida the 5th lowest among all the
states.

Florida’s tax structure has some items that have special impacts, positive and negative, on mature citizens. Among positive items are sales tax exemptions for many items, such as medical services,
hospital rooms, prescription and non prescription drugs, medical supplies, eyeglasses, lawyer services, food, etc., on which the elderly spend a disproportionate amount of their income.

Most counties grant additional homestead exemptions to elders and reductions in taxable value to widows/widowers. Also, total exemptions are given to disabled persons with incomes below $20,000 per year. Totally disabled veterans also get a total exemption. In addition, to protect citizens who remain in their homes from the negative tax consequences of rapidly appreciating property values, the Save Our Homes legislation limits the annual taxable value increase to the lesser of 3 percent or the change in the Consumer Price Index.

On the other hand, there are taxes that impact the elderly in a negative fashion, for example, the Intangibles Tax. This tax, which is levied on taxable stocks and bonds, falls mostly on older
citizens who contribute 70 percent of all collections. Another tax that falls mostly on elders is the Estate Tax, which is levied on transfers of wealth.

However, it should be noted that the Florida Estate Tax counts as a full credit against the Federal Estate Tax; therefore, this tax does not represent an added burden on Floridians. Estate taxes not
paid in Florida would be due to the federal government. This tax collected $780 million in SFY 2001-02 and collections are growing at a 17 percent per year rate. Only a few taxpayers pay most of this tax. The top 1 percent of the estates that paid this tax paid about 50 percent of its total value.
A member of the Commission suggested that older residents should be allowed to defer the payment of property taxes on their main residence until their moving or death. At such time, deferred taxes plus interests would be collected from the proceeds of the sale or from the estate. Accrued deferred taxes would be posted as tax liens on the property. Since municipalities “bond” future receipts from deferred taxes, there would be no negative impact on their finances.

Cost of living: Expert and public comment suggested that, although Florida is a state with a lower than average cost of living, there are marked differences across the state. Some counties have much higher than average housing costs. For example, the ten most expensive counties according to the cost of housing (Lee, Orange, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Collier, Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach) have housing costs that are on average 25 percent higher than counties in the Florida panhandle.

Table 2 shows the cost of living for selected retirement destination and source states ( 5 ) . Florida’s average cost of living is lower than the national average and, overall, much lower than traditional origin states such as New York or New Jersey.

Employment: Many retirees return to the job market out of personal preference or economic necessity. Older workers bring many assets to the workplace, including experience, knowledge
and a strong work ethic. Florida’s business growth requires a supply of capable workers. 
Businesses report difficulty in finding qualified applicants with basic workplace skills. The labor force is aging. The Agency for Workforce Innovation reports that the number of workers age 55 and older will rise to 22 million in 2005 from 16 million in 1996. By the year 2010, workers aged 55 and older are projected to make up over 20 percent of the labor force.

Concerns about the aging labor force and future labor shortages, especially in the health care industry, make older workers an important resource.

A state environment is needed that discourages ageism and discrimination and encourages employment and training opportunities for those who want to remain in or reenter the workforce. Partnerships between the Department of Elder Affairs, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, Enterprise Florida, the aging network, and public and private education providers can assist retirees in finding the opportunities they seek and can assist the state in profiting from these vast skills and experiences. Suggested strategies submitted to the Commission from the Agency for
Workforce Innovation include:
$    The Creation of “Profit Through Experience” networks in one-stop career centers throughout the state. There are more than 140 one-stop career centers at which experienced workers can receive training to update job skills, build resumes and contact prospective employers.
$    The provision of entrepreneurial training and support opportunities to encourage experienced workers to start their own businesses.
$ The development of workforce marketing materials targeted at changing employer perspectives regarding older workers and the perspectives of older workers themselves about their own abilities.

While these are not new strategies, Florida can do much with a renewed commitment and strengthening of partnerships to meet the critical workforce needs of Florida’s business community and to promote a working environment that will attract and retain working seniors.

Public Comment
Participants at the September 18, 2002 meeting at the Northwest Focal Point Senior Day Care Center in Margate discussed the importance of and need for planning and for a review of the
current service system before encouraging new retirees to relocate to Florida. Participants also discussed the need for education and information to protect seniors from fraud and abuse. Public
comment at other meetings also included economic issues such as economic development, business partnerships, taxes and employment for elders. Participants responded to the question
“Why Florida?” by noting that the state was more economical, sales taxes were lower and there was an easier lifestyle.

Commission Recommendations
Following the process of fact-finding and discussion, the Commission concluded that Florida should be making strong efforts in recruiting and retaining elders and made the following recommendations for economic issues:
$ Freeze property tax increases for persons 55 or older. Defer increases until death with the estate to pay the deferred amount.
$ Implement current legislation to eliminate intangible taxes.
 

Health Care Issues
Mature Floridians are the major users of health care systems. With ,the aging of baby boomers and increased longevity, the impact of health care on quality of life becomes even greater. From a healthy lifestyle perspective, Florida is an attractive place to retire. The Commission listed the following positive attributes:
$ Public health indicators show that, for elders, Florida is a healthy place to live.
$ Florida’s health care costs are lower than other states.
$ Florida provides a high quality of specialized care.

Discussion of Health Care Issues
An important concern of all persons as they age is the increasing risk of chronic or acute illness. The Commission wanted to explore the following health care issues: prescription drug coverage and other Medicare gaps, access for retirees not yet of Medicare age, access to preventive services, excellence of health care facilities, supply of health professionals and paraprofessionals, and information and referral services. A presentation was made by Ms. Annette Phelps from the Florida Department of Health. Ms. Phelps explained that, overall, Florida is a “healthy place to
retire.” Elder Floridians enjoy better health than elders from other states. For example, Florida mortality rates are lower than national rates for these killer diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart
disease, and stroke.
Ms. Phelps listed Florida’s keys to good health:
1. Climate conducive to active lifestyle
2. Public health infrastructure
3. Quality health care systems
4. Innovative strategies to address health care issues

Florida exceeds the national averages for number of hospital beds per resident, Medicare expenditure per beneficiary, and Medicaid home health services. Florida also has some of the top medical facilities in the nation, for example, Jackson Memorial, Mayo Clinic, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, and Shands Hospital. Florida also has aggressive prevention programs in the areas of osteoporosis, injuries from falls, diabetes, cancer, smoking, and obesity.

A program that merits special mention is the Silver Sav er Drug Program. This program increases prescription drug access for lower income elders. It provides a $160 per month prescription drug
benefit and will serve about 58,000 elderly Floridians with incomes up to 120 percent of the federal poverty level.

Florida is also actively looking for solutions to the pressing shortage of health care professionals. In 2000, the Florida State University Medical School accepted its first class. This school is primarily geared to provide primary care physicians to elders and residents of traditionally underserved areas. Another strategy to increase access to health care focuses on recruiting retired health care professionals from other states. For example, Florida grants liability immunity to volunteer licensed medical and dental professionals, along with interpreters and imaging personnel who volunteer at local health clinics. Alongside the state’s effort, the Boards of Medicine and Dentistry grant limited licensures to retired licensed professionals from other states.

Public Comment
Participants at each of the public meetings expressed concerns about health and long-term care including the cost of health care, health insurance and prescription drugs, the ability of Medicare to address long-term care needs, the need for more funding for home and community-based services, and the need for education and information on long-term care and long-term care insurance. At the public hearings in Pensacola and Fort Myers, participants also addressed health care services for veterans. The lack of inpatient care and considerable wait time in the delivery of services for veterans was said to be an especially hot topic in Pensacola, an area with a heavy concentration of military retirees.

Commission Recommendations
Following the process of fact-finding and discussion, the Commission concluded that Florida should be making strong efforts in recruiting and retaining elders and made the following
recommendations for health care issues:
$    Give legislative priority to meaningful tort law reform. The importance of this issue 
      cannot be overemphasized. The pernicious effect of obsolete tort law weighs 
      particularly heavy on retirees. Rising costs of medical malpractice liability insurance 
      take a heavy toll on the quality of life of most, as they restrict the accessibility and 
      availability of many critical services. Note: the Commission is aware that the report of 
      the Governor’s Select Task Force on Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance was 
      expected January 31, 2003; also, a Legislative joint select committee was created in 
      December 2002 to find ways to help nursing homes get liability insurance.
$    Prioritize surplus aging services dollars to provide services to elders on the current
       waiting list.
$    Make more funding available for home and community-based services to ensure 
      services to the approximately 15,000 elders on the current waiting list, 2,500 of whom 
      are in immediate need for services.
$    Ensure that the long-term care network is better coordinated and fragmentation 
      reduced. The creation and placement of the Office of Long-Term Care Policy in the 
      Department of Elder Affairs should help to achieve these goals.
$   Foster the development of “regional facilities of excellence” to provide health care. 
     This may require the review and streamlining of current regulations, such as 
     “certificate of need” rules, that may be hindering access to high quality services in the 
     areas of the state where economic development--through the retirement industry--is 
     needed most.
$   Create, support and market incentives to recruit nurses. Encourage partnerships with 
     hospitals and community colleges to expand nurse-training opportunities.

The importance of the need for meaningful tort law reform cannot be
overemphasized. The pernicious effect of obsolete tort law weights
particularly heavy on retirees. Rising costs of medical malpractice
liability insurance take a heavy toll on the quality of life of most, as they
restrict the accessibility and availability of many critical services.
$    Ensure the maximization of federal matching (Medicaid) dollars to expand services.
$    Assure that caregivers, who provide the majority of longterm care, have adequate 
      support to meet the needs of family members.
$    Create and market incentives to recruit and retain home care workers, nursing home 
      staff and doctors.
$    Continue to emphasize more geriatric training within Florida schools of medicine.
$    Provide more education to elders and baby boomers about long-term care insurance.

                                                                    Housing Issues
A range of choices and options reflecting a wide spectrum of type, cost, size and location of housing is needed to ensure that elders can age in place, and to allow all residents to achieve their full potential.

Florida has many housing features conducive to retiree migration.
The Commission listed the following positive attributes:

$     Florida has diversity and a wide variety of housing options for elders such as 
       independent living senior communities, continuing care retirement communities, 
       assisted living facilities and adult family care homes.
$     Florida offers a range of housing for all income levels.
$     The Communities for a Lifetime initiative promotes accessible, affordable housing 
       options.
$ Florida enjoys moderate temperatures that ease costs associated with utility bills.

Discussion of Housing Issues
The Commission chose to focus comments and discussion for this area of discovery on: affordability issues impacted by permitting, cost of land, impact fees and cost of insurance; mixed-use zoning and mixed-use facilities to allow elders to stay active; the possibility of tax breaks and incentives to builders of mixed-use facilities; reverse mortgages; integration of senior housing with long-term care services; promotion of assisted living facilities housing; and subsidized housing. The Commission was especially interested in Governor Bush’s and the Department of Elder Affairs’ Communities for a Lifetime initiative.

Ms. Shawn Henning, Community Relations Coordinator, Department of Elder Affairs, made a presentation, to the Commission at the October 31, 2002, meeting, on Communities for a Lifetime, a statewide initiative to assist Florida cities, towns and counties in evaluating current conditions, planning for the future and implementing improvements. Communities for a Lifetime is a cornerstone of Destination Florida. The goal of the initiative is to help Florida communities become better places to live, providing all residents with the opportunity to achieve their full potential and contribute to the betterment of their communities. This is critical to make the state a place that meets the needs of its current residents but also one that welcomes and meets the needs and desires of retirees. To meet these needs, communities must value personal dignity, individual purpose, security, lifelong learning, sustainability to meet present needs without compromising resources for future generations and intergenerational connections.

The Department of Elder Affairs will offer coordination and technical assistance to communities to help them become Communities for a Lifetime. Communities need to take the first step by making a commitment to address issues and plan for change. New technologies and changing demographic, environmental, workforce and economic issues influence change.

In assessing housing needs, communities need to look at physical accessibility and housing design which incorporates universal design, the design of products and environments that are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Retirees are a diverse group. Housing options need to reflect a wide spectrum of housing types, costs, size, locations and community amenities. The principles of Communities for a Lifetime cut across all of the areas of discovery, particularly transportation and amenities.

Steve Seibert, Secretary, Department of Community Affairs, made a presentation to the Commission at the October 31, 2002, meeting. He discussed the role of the Florida Housing Authority and funds that are set aside to support elder housing. Staff of Regional Planning Councils, established and defined in Chapter 186, Florida Statutes, provide services to local communities in the areas of technical planning assistance, grant and loan planning assistance, economic development activities, community visioning and more. Mr. Seibert addressed the need for more affordable housing for elders, the importance of state and local cooperation to assure more comprehensive planning, and the need to share best practices with local government. A Commission member pointed out that this would include faith based and community initiatives addressed by President Bush in December 2002.

Public Comment
At the September 30, 2002, meeting in Tallahassee, Russell G. Day from Lady Lake, expressed concerns regarding Chapter 190, Florida Statutes dealing with community development districts. He felt this statute causes cities and counties to lose money.

At the September 30, 2002, meeting, Peggy Bailey from Hernando expressed concern that seniors may be required to pay twice for housing work, because, even though they pay the contractor, they remain responsible to those subcontractors who do not receive payment from their contractors. For further detail about this issue, the minutes of the December 2, 2002, Commission meeting present research by Commissioner McKee, regarding the Florida Construction Lien Law (minutes contained in appendix).

Janegale Boyd, President of the Florida Association of Homes for the Aging, provided expert public comments at the September 30, 2002, Commission meeting. She discussed continuing care retirement communities and HUD housing, what the future retiree wants, a profile of the retiree of the future, and housing barriers.

Ms. Boyd made the following recommendations:

  • Encourage “age-restricted” communities that sell mostly to people 55 and over.
  • Support federal housing laws that allow developers to set minimum age requirements for up to 80 percent of the residents in a community.
  • Have the Florida Housing Authority create more focused money to be spent on elder housing to assist those who want to build affordable housing and need state matching funds to assist with Federal HUD funding.
  • Explore insurance solutions.
  • Market Florida housing and environment.
  • Preserve tax exemptions for seniors in not-for-profit communities.
  • Enhance incentives to attract health care professions.
Chance Henderson of Jacksonville, representing Cyber Citizens for Justice, provided comments at the September 30, 2002, meeting. Mr. Henderson expressed concern regarding retirees moving
without having all the information they need about their housing environment, homeowners associations, statutes governing fraudulent home building and related issues.
Other public comment and concern on housing issues centered on affordable housing, construction lien law, and homeowners associations.

Commission Recommendations
Following the process of fact-finding and discussion, the Commission concluded that Florida should be making strong efforts in recruiting and retaining elders and made the following recommendations for housing issues:
$    Review current lien and mandatory disclosure laws to make disclosures consumer 
      friendly. Promote greater coordination among state agencies and consumer 
      education to protect seniors against predators.
$    Introduce incentives for new homebuyers and educate them about existing programs 
      such as the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP).
$    Educate homebuyers and owners about positive and negative aspects of ownership
      issues such as homeowners associations.
$    Ensure and promote a range of housing choices and options reflecting a wide 
      spectrum of type, cost, size and location.
$    Promote the message of Communities for a Lifetime.

Note: The above recommendations all emphasize education to assist consumers in finding the best options, making decisions and protecting themselves from exploitation.

                                                      Transportation Issues
The availability of accessible and affordable transportation is directly related to an elder’s level of independence. Florida has many transportation features conducive to retiree migration. The Commission listed the following positive attributes:
$    The Department of Transportation has done an excellent job with roadways such as 
      wide lanes, good signage and pedestrian friendly features.
$    Florida has a low state gas tax.
$    Florida is actively working toward having fully accessible sidewalks and bike and 
      jogging trails.

Discussion of Transportation Issues
Personal mobility is strongly associated with independence and access to services, attributes that are paramount to amenity seeking retirees. Mobility can be obtained through a personal vehicle and a driver’s license or through good and reliable transit.

Due to the natural aging process, driving is no longer an alternative for many elders and public transit becomes critical. The Commission identified the following as transportation issues that needed to be explored: lack of public/mass transit, accessibility to services by frail elders, elder-friendliness of roads and signage.

Presentations were made by Ms. Christine Speer from the Florida Department of Transportation and by Commissioner Mae L. Baker. Ms. Speer stated that Florida leads the nation in providing an elder friendly driving environment. Florida’s Department of Transportation administers the Elder Roadway User Program, started in 1991, dedicated to improving safety and maintaining mobility for Florida’s aging drivers. The impetus for this program is the fact that 75 percent of people aged 65 and older are actively driving. The following is a list of activities that have been undertaken through the program:
1. Traffic Control Devices
     a. Increased visibility of travel path during day and night conditions
     b. Advanced notice of traffic situations
     c. Simplifying decision making at interchanges and intersection approaches
2. Pavement Markings
    a. Increased lane and edge lines from 4 to 6 inches
    b. Double the number of reflective pavement markings
3. Overhead Signage
    a. Using minimum of 8 inch letters (10 inch preferred) 
    b. Supporting municipalities’ use of internally lighted signs
    c. Using advance street name signs
4. Pedestrian Improvements
    a. “Refuge” islands
    b. High emphasis crosswalks
    c. Traffic signals time, for slower walk speeds
5. Improved Safety Signals
    a. 20/70 visual acuity used to redesign signs
    b. Most word messages now contain 8 inch letters and measure 48x48 inches.
    c. Increased letter sizes (25 percent larger)
    d. Using advance lane assignment signs
6. Offset Left Turn Lanes
7. Survey of Elder Drivers to Measure Satisfaction

Regarding transit, the Florida Department of Transportation stated that fixed-route transit systems exist only in urban areas, with Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Orange and Osceola counties having the most developed systems. These systems, where available, are designed to be elder friendly. For example, riders age 65 and older pay half fare during off-peak hours, over 80 percent of buses have wheel chair lifts, and many buses can “kneel” for easy entry/exit.

The Florida Department of Transportation recognizes that providing transit services to low -density areas poses a challenge. Many elders in these areas are served through Florida’s Transportation Disadvantaged Program; 43 percent of persons served through this system are age 60 or older. This system is operated locally with funding from federal, state and local sources.

Commissioner Baker submitted written comments expressing her concern for an existing unmet demand for transit services. She documented that in 2002, 1.1 million requests for trips were denied.( 7 ) This is an important consideration, as lack of reliable transportation may lead to serious long-term consequences for individuals and the state.

Public Comment
At the September 18, 2002 public meeting in Fort Myers, the need for transportation was one of the areas of concern discussed by participants. Also, during the public comment portion of the
September 30 Commission meeting, in Tallahassee, JoAnne Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, offered to help with information and technical assistance regarding transportation issues.

Commission Recommendations
Following the process of fact-finding and discussion, the Commission concluded that Florida should be making strong efforts in recruiting and retaining elders and made the following recommendations for transportation issues:
$    Assure adequate mass transit is available in all areas of the state.
$    Increase local demand-response transportation specifically designed for the needs of 
      non-ambulatory older persons.
$    Work with the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged to ensure that elder 
      issues are addressed and to ensure that its activities foster the development of 
      satisfactory practices for the provision of demand response transportation.
$    Consider the provision of discount cards and vouchers to seniors to assist with taxi 
      and bus transportation costs.
$    Aggressively pursue strategies to obtain a higher return of Florida’s federal 
      transportation taxes to strengthen the state’s transit systems.
 

Amenity Issues
A state’s desirable characteristics are judged very important in decisions of where to move. Florida has many environmental and community amenities that are conducive to retiree migration. The Commission listed the following positive attributes:
$     Florida has year-round favorable weather with plenty of sunshine.
$     Florida’s lifestyle includes opportunities for seaside recreation, golf courses, hiking 
       and other recreational opportunities.
$    Florida has a geographically and ethnically diverse population making it attractive to 
      retirees of diverse backgrounds.
$    Florida has outstanding state and local park systems.
$    Florida has a significant number of theme parks and other entertainment attractions.
$    Florida offers a variety of volunteer opportunities that inspire a sense of renewal and 
      fulfillment.
$    Florida is known for its “friendly people.”
$    Florida has outstanding air, land, and sea transportation facilities, offering convenient 
      access to all national and international destinations.
$    The Communities for a Lifetime initiative promotes community amenities (see housing 
      area of discovery discussion and presentation in appendix).

Discussion of Amenity Issues
Amenities have been identified as the major attractor of younger, more affluent retirees. Florida is already known for the attractiveness of its most obvious amenities such as beaches, seaside activities and world-class golfing facilities. Therefore, the Commission was interested in finding out about what other amenities exist in Florida that could be used as a magnet to attract future retirees. The Commission asked for comments from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Ms. Irene DeLaby, a member of the Commission, also provided comments (Ms. DeLaby’s handouts are included in the appendix with the minutes from the August 29, 2002, meeting).
Mr. Bob Ballard, Deputy Secretary; Mr. Jim Stevenson, Director, Florida Springs; Ms. Katherine Andrews, Director, Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas; Ms. Jena Brooks, Director, Office of Greenways and Trails; and Ms. Wendy Spencer, Director, State Parks, from the Department of Environmental Protection, presented the Commission with an impressive list, and slides with photographs of Florida’s natural attractions including state parks, over 600 springs, rivers, and nature preserves that rival anything any other state has to offer. Florida’s parks were designated as “Best in The Nation” in 1999.
Commissioner Nunis suggested an IMAX type movie, about these attractions emphasizing Florida’s diverse natural beauty, should be seriously considered, given the impact that it would have in attracting retirees and tourists to the state. These are attractions that do not get the same billing as our beaches even though they possibly pose more appeal for persons considering a more longlasting, active amenity experience.

Commissioner DeLaby noted that the opportunities for retirees to volunteer at these natural amenities as guides, stewards/ caretakers or researchers add to the retirement experience. Currently the park service has more than 6,000 volunteers. Many of these volunteers are elders. In addition, the state has several universities in locations such as Gainesville and Tallahassee that could compete very favorably for retirees looking for smaller communities with a vibrant cultural scene.
Volunteering: Concerning volunteer opportunities, the Commission heard presentations from Mr. Tom Reimers, Florida Department of Elder Affairs; Ms. Irene DeLaby, Commission member and Volunteer Ambassador for the Florida Park Service; and Ms. Gail Cooper, Florida Department of Health.
The presentations and public comment showed that Florida provides retirees with an abundance of attractive volunteer opportunities. For example, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) provides support to volunteers that counsel others about health insurance including Medicaid, Medicare and HMOs. The Department of Elder Affairs also supports intergenerational volunteer programs. Through its programs, DOEA supported 2.6 million hours of volunteer services in 2001.

The Florida Park Service offers wonderful volunteer opportunities for retirees who want to remain physically active and love contact with nature. Florida’s parks cover many different natural environments ranging from pristine beaches and estuarine habitats to trails through wooded areas and natural springs.

The Florida Department of Health offers volunteer opportunities for retired health practitioners who move to Florida. This program grants a limited Florida licensure to retired practitioners and covers their professional liability when they practice on a volunteer basis at local health clinics. This program also addresses paraprofessional staff such as interpreters and office staff that
volunteer.

Public Comment
Public comments included discussions on the protection of the environment and land, the need for clean industry, and alternative energy sources. Participants believed that the state’s amenities
such as its available recreation, beaches and weather were important in enticing people to move to Florida. The Florida Center for Creative Aging, a partnership with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs, submitted written statements regarding their activities to
encourage Florida’s cultural community to become retiree friendly. The Center agreed to work with the Destination Florida Commission in making Florida “the state of the Arts for all stages
of aging.”

Commission Recommendations
Following the process of fact-finding and discussion, the Commission concluded that Florida should be making strong efforts in recruiting and retaining elders and made the following recommendations for amenity issues:
$     Improve education about Florida’s natural amenities through existing publications, 
       tourism materials and mass media.
$     Continue to protect Florida’s natural resources and parks so they may continue to 
       attract future generations.
$    Continue to promote natural amenities and volunteer opportunities.
$    Develop and distribute welcome packets for new residents.
$    Work with Visit Florida, Chambers of Commerce, local economic development 
      councils and companies that recruit employees from out of state to promote Florida’s 
      image.
$    Promote the message of Communities for a Lifetime.
 

Information Technology Issues
Florida is the fifth largest state in the nation for high technology jobs. Availability of and competency in high technology is a necessity for the future.
Florida is getting itself ready for the information technology needs of retirees. The Commission noted that:
$ Information technology access is available in most communities.

Discussion of Information Technology Issues
Given that future retirement trends point towards a “phased in” type of retirement where many retirees will take up second careers that will require them to work from home, and that access
to information increases access to services, the Commission identified information technology as an area to ponder and explore. Ms. Kim Bahrami, Director of the State Technology Office
(STO), was asked to speak before the Commission. Ms. Bahrami indicated that STO was created by Governor Bush to pull together state agencies, free up technology dollars, and use technology more efficiently. These actions could help bring seniors to Florida, as STO acts as an enabler and enhancer of information. The governor, recognizing the importance of the Internet as an enhancer of access to services and programs, has committed significant resources to making state government accessible through themyflorida.com portal. This Web site provides access to all Florida government information and is easy for citizens to navigate.

Ms. Bahrami suggested that STO could set up a promotional Web site to encourage people to retire to Florida. This will be a low cost way to market Florida. That effort could be part of the myflorida.com page. STO could also facilitate tools such as videoconferencing capabilities currently not available in many places, especially rural areas. Also, high speed Internet access everywhere in the state would enhance senior citizens’ lives. The infrastructure is currently there, but the service is not always available.

Public Comment
There was little public comment on the issue of technology. 

Commission Recommendations
Following the process of fact-finding and discussion, the Commission concluded that Florida should be making strong efforts in recruiting and retaining elders and made the following recommendations for information technology issues:
$      Study high-speed Internet access issues.
$      Provide Internet access in rural areas.
 

MARKETING CAMPAIGN
This section of the report provides a discussion on retirement migration and how a marketing plan can be used to effect future migration.
1)     Who are the retirement migrants, and what are the determinants of current and future 
        retirement migration flows into Florida?
2)     What does Florida have to offer, or need to do, to be attractive to potential retirement 
        migrants?
3)     What is the proposed strategy for a marketing plan?

1. Who are the retirement migrants and what determines their decision to relocate?
Research has shown that retirement migratory patterns are determined by two sets of factors: amenities and life course circumstances ( 8 ). Amenities are also called “push-pull” factors, that is, migrants move in response to attractive and unattractive characteristics at their places of origin and destination. Desirable characteristics at the destination encourage in-migration “pull” and undesirable characteristics encourage out-migration “push.”

Life course circumstances are also important determinants of migratory behavior in later life as migrants’ preferences vary according to their stage in the life course. Younger retirees in
good health prefer leisure amenities and attractive physical environments (amenity migration). Later changes in life circumstances such as widowhood or disability provide the impetus
for a different kind of migration, where closeness to children and access to care are the main concerns (assistance or disability migration).

The typical amenity migrant is in reasonably good health, married, and financially secure – although not necessarily high income. These migrants are characterized by economic and residential
independence. Amenity migrants constitute about one-half of mature migrants.

Assistance migrants, characterized by economic disadvantage and widowhood, look for economic assistance and kinship. Most assistance migrants live in low cost housing and depend on others
for a significant portion of their income. Assistance migration ischaracterized by economic and residential dependence. Assistance migrants make up about twenty eight percent of mature migrants.

Finally, disabled mature migrants, who move in response to severe disability, need assistance with day-to-day activities and move to collocate with children, or to a long-term care facility. Disability
migrants are unlike assistance migrants in that they can be of any income level. They move because of disability, not out of a need for economic assistance.

Amenity migrants are attracted by favorable climates, recreational opportunities and leisure amenities. They prefer destinations with good economic conditions, low crime rates and attractive physical environments. Amenity migration is also influenced by the similarity of the demographics between destination and the place of origin. Indeed, destination conditions are most important to
amenity seekers while origin conditions will be more important to assistance seekers.

A recent survey ( 9 ) of amenity retirees who relocated rated climate as the major “push-pull” motivating factor for moving to Florida - citing the harsh winter in their place of origin as the main “push” factor and the mild Florida winters as the main “pull factor.” On the other hand, those who remained to “age in place” in northern states saw their weather as favorable, citing the mild summers and the change of seasons as reasons not to move to Florida.

Another major reason to retire to Florida, according to the same survey, is destination ties. Wherever they moved from, retirees to Florida were familiar with the destination location before they moved. A total of 87 percent of migrants who chose Florida to retire had visited their destination place before. Fifty percent had visited relatives, and 64 percent had visited friends who were living or extended-stay vacationing in a Florida community. About a fourth of Florida-bound retirees had purchased property in the area prior to making the permanent move.

Community characteristics also played important “push-pull” roles in the retirement migration decision. Twenty percent of mature migrants to Florida mentioned high taxes and the high cost of living in the origin states as an important reason to move to Florida.

However, one in six movers said that the natural beauty of their origin states made the decision to move more difficult.

Finally, personal ties seem to play very importantly in the minds of Florida-bound retirees. Fifty-nine percent of them thought that the attractiveness of their retirement place would entice friends and family to visit. More than one in five selected a Florida destination to be near family members, and one in four decided to move due in part to many of their friends’ retiring to Florida. The evidence suggests that people moving to Florida did not base their selection on a magazine article. Most have visited and vacationed in their retirement destinations, many look forward to hosting friends and family members who come to visit, and some are following friends and family who have moved before them ( 10 ).

Retirement migrants who moved to Florida seem to be quite happy with their decision. On a scale of 0 to 10, they averaged 8.7 with 55 percent giving their decision a 10. Table 3 below lists the range of features considered to be “very important” by persons migrating to Florida. This survey reflects the attitudes and opinions of the first baby boomers who turned fifty. As discussed in the next section, baby boomer retirement attitudes are expected to differ from those of older retirees. The features that were judged to be very important can be grouped into weather and natural features, opportunities for kinship and social interactions, lifestyle and availability of recreational and cultural activities, health and social services, and economic issues.
 

Table 3
Features Judged “Very Important” in Selecting Florida as a
Retirement Location ( 11 )
FEATURE Percent of Florida
Mature Migrants Who
Judged the Feature as
“Very Important”
Warm Climate 83%
Availability of Outdoor Activities 40%
Proximity of Friends Who Have Moved to The Area 39%
Florida Lifestyle 37%
Proximity to an Ethnic or Religious Community 35%
Natural Beauty of Region 32%
Proximity of Relatives 27%
Good Medical Care 22%
Cultural Amenities 20%
Attractive for Relatives and Friends to Visit 20%
Location in East Coast of the U.S. 18%
Availability of Services for Older People 18%
Lower Cost of Living 17%
Lower Taxes 14%

Future Trends in Retirement Migration
The leading edge of the baby boom is entering the traditional retirement age, and experts predict that baby-boomers’ retirement patterns will be different from their parents’ ( 12 ). Changes in Social Security and pension plans along with higher levels of education will produce a more phased-in retirement later in life. The evidence suggests that technological advances and the characteristics of a service oriented economy make telecommuting more likely, thus facilitating relocation. A survey of older baby boomers by the Del Webb Corporation shows that two thirds of them expect to continue to work after retirement from their primary career ( 13 ).
Another major developing trend that has started to influence retirement relocation decisions is that state and local governments have begun to aggressively market themselves as desirable retirement destinations. Traditional retirement destinations are still attracting retirees, but emerging alternatives are providing competition and will reduce the migration to established retirement destinations. Therefore, according to the experts “any individual community, regardless of amenities or climate, will be in a competitive situation to attract these retirees.” ( 14 )

2. What does Florida have to offer, or need to do, to be attractive to potential 
    retirement migrants?

The Commission collected evidence that Florida offers more than sunshine to those w ho retire here. Florida offers natural and cultural amenities that rival anything any other state has to offer.

Furthermore, Florida already has programs in place in the areas of health, transportation and community planning that are designed to help Florida maintain its status as the premier retirement
destination in America.

However, the Commission also heard commentary that suggests that Florida needs to prepare the social support systems that will be required to deal with the long-term care needs of the small minority of retirees that will eventually need them. Existing statistical evidence suggests that about 5 percent of those who retire to Florida will need this support.

Florida needs to develop and implement a marketing plan that will attract new amenity seeking residents who are retired and baby boomers that are potential retirees. Florida also needs an awareness and education campaign to show its current residents and policy makers that the value and contributions of its elder residents more than offset the costs of enhancing the state’s services and finding better ways to meet current needs.

3. Marketing Plan Overview
There was a consensus among Commissioners that a marketing campaign would be one of the key elements in meeting the goals and mission of the Destination Florida Commission. The Commission recommendation is for the state to develop a campaign with the following two objectives:
$     Attract persons aged 50 and older, paying particular attention to amenity seeking 
       baby boomers, to relocate to/retire in Florida; and
$     Educate and promote awareness to show current Florida residents and policy 
       makers the value and contributions of mature residents.

Using Commissioner Maritza Guiterrez’ outline as a basis, the Commission suggested some guiding policies and preliminary steps in developing the campaign. It was agreed that the overall strategy should promote and utilize the message of Communities for a Lifetime, an initiative of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, to help Florida communities become better places to live,
providing all residents with the opportunity to achieve their full potential and contribute to the betterment of their communities. See housing discussion and appendix for Communities for a
Lifetime presentation.

The following are the items proposed in the campaign outline: Determine Target Recruitment and Destination Areas The state should target its recruitment marketing campaign by defining the markets with the highest potential of return such as New York City and Chicago (research shows that CT, IL, IN, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and WI accounted for over 90 percent of retirement migrants to Florida (15 ). At the same time, the state should consider targeting recruitment to those areas of Florida that are more in need for economic development and have amenities and services to be promoted.

Targets and deadlines for the program -- such as a 5 year goal/plan -- should be established with clearly determined metrics to measure progress/success.

Develop Internal and External Marketing Strategies
Utilize a creative approach to sell current residents the idea of positive net benefits for the state. Raise the level of awareness about the value of elders. Use compelling facts, such as those discussed in this report, to promote the messages. Use baby boomers and seniors as ambassadors/spokespersons to sell

Florida’s amenities.
Research shows that mature consumers, more than any other group, are more reliant on “word of mouth” and other testimonial evidence to seek consumer information. These consumers are
particularly biased towards information that originates from “highcredibility” sources, such as trusted long-term acquaintances, friends, and professionals. Therefore, to attract amenity-seeking
retirees, the marketing strategy should identify proper spokespersons and, more importantly, convince those already retired here that their retirement experience is the best that it can be.

With the above caveat, Florida could use television, radio and other media approaches that target persons the state aims to recruit. Direct mail and articles and advertisements in print publications targeted to baby boomers, veterans and future amenity seeking retirees can be effective. For example, direct mail to persons belonging to the target psychographic profiles.

Florida’s competitive advantages should be emphasized in the campaign, the most obvious one being the weather. For example, a tag line on northern weather channels during the winter can advise viewers of the weather in Florida. Or advertise in golf and tennis magazines, the fact that these sports can be practiced year round in the state.

Develop supporting materials and program package/brochures that can be distributed through the state and agency Web sites and included in state and local chamber of commerce materials.
Information can also be included in local and state tourism materials. Potential amenity-seeking retirees may be encouraged to consider relocating to Florida following a successful tourist visit.

The success or value of targeting tourists can be determined by working closely with Visit Florida and including questions about relocating on its existing visitor follow-up surveys.

Develop a Destination Florida Information hotline.

Employ Public Relations Efforts
Encourage editors from out-of-state trade publications to write stories on active retiree living and benefits in the state. Florida’s climate is a major benefit and attractor.

Meet with editorial boards and encourage in-state articles and information on the value of retirees and positive aging. Conduct an outreach program by participating in national conventions/shows that target pre-retirement demographics. For example the AARP Life at 50 + convention is expected to draw participants from all over the country.

Establish a Speakers Bureau made up of experts in the benefits that retirees bring to Florida that can spread the message to individuals and businesses about the value and benefits of Florida’s
retirement industry. Also establish a retiree Ambassadors for Aging program that can carry a positive message about the Florida active lifestyle to potential amenity seeking retirees.

Encourage the television and film industries to utilize Florida locations. The Florida Film Commission has many successful initiatives for attracting filmmakers to Florida. Images of Florida on television and in movies act as a tool to inform potential retirees about the state’s amenities.

Develop a Realistic and Adequate Budget
An investment in the marketing program is an investment in Florida’s economic future well-being. The state already engages in substantial marketing efforts and initiatives that could be utilized
for Destination Florida, for example, Communities for a Lifetime, Enterprise Florida, Visit Florida, the Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment, state and local chambers of commerce, and visitors bureaus and convention centers. Destination Florida can partner with those efforts to tap into special skills and abilities and emphasize budget neutral marketing activities. Also, Florida has an excellent resource in the dedicated retirees who volunteer and could become excellent Ambassadors for Aging and members of a speakers’ bureau. The state could also recruit the business community to help sponsor marketing events.

Establish the Action Plan
Once developed, a detailed action plan with time lines and clearly identified tasks and responsibilities needs to be implemented. The launching of the campaign has to be properly timed and in conjunction with a kick off event that is set to attract national attention.
 

RECOMMENDATIONS
Guided by public input, expert presentations and research, the Commission developed recommendations to enhance Florida’s competitive position in attracting retirees. These recommendations are in the areas of:
  • Enhancing the attractiveness of Florida in terms of its quality of life and retiree-friendliness.
  • Designing a marketing plan to attract amenity seeking retirees and bolster the spirit of the current retired population.
  • Using the retirement industry as an engine of economic growth.
The report provides discussion and support for these recommendations. The Commission’s recommendations are listed in prioritized order within each quality of life area with high priority recommendations presented in bold.

Quality of Life Recommendations
Quality of life recommendations are provided in six broad areas: economic, health, housing, transportation, amenities and information technology.

Economic Issues:
   Freeze property tax increases for persons 55 or older. Defer increases until death with the 
       estate to pay the deferred amount.
    Implement current legislation to eliminate intangible taxes.

Health Care Issues:
   Give legislative priority to meaningful tort law reform. The importance of this issue cannot be 
      overemphasized. The pernicious effect of obsolete tort law weighs particularly heavy on 
      retirees. Rising costs of medical malpractice liability insurance take a heavy toll on the 
      quality of life of most, as they restrict the accessibility and availability of many critical services. 
      Note: the Commission is aware that the report of the Governor’s Select Task Force on 
      Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance was expected January 31, 2003; also, a legislative 
      joint select committee was created in December 2002 to find ways to help nursing homes get 
      liability insurance.
$    Prioritize surplus aging services dollars to provide services to elders on the current waiting list.
$    Make more funding available for home and community-based services to ensure services to 
      the approximately 15,000 elders on the current waiting list - 2,500 of whom are in immediate 
      need of services.
$    Ensure that the long-term care network is better coordinated and fragmentation reduced. The 
      creation and placement of the Office of Long-Term Care in the Department of Elder Affairs 
      should help to achieve these goals.
$    Foster the development of “regional facilities of excellence” to provide health care. This may 
      require the review and streamlining of current regulations, such as “certificate of need” rules, 
      that may be hindering access to high quality services in the areas of the state where economic 
      development --through the retirement industry-- is needed most.
$    Create additional incentives and support and market existing incentives to recruit nurses and 
      partner with hospitals to provide better training. Encourage partnerships with business and 
      community colleges.
$    Ensure the maximization of federal matching (Medicaid) dollars to expand services.
$    Assure that caregivers, who provide the majority of longterm care, have adequate support to 
      meet the needs of family members.
$    Create and market incentives to recruit and retain home care workers, nursing home staff and 
      doctors.
   Continue to emphasize more geriatric training within Florida schools of medicine.
$    Provide more education to elders and baby boomers about long-term care insurance.

Housing Issues:
   Review current lien and mandatory disclosure laws to make disclosures consumer friendly. 
      Promote greater coordination among state agencies and consumer education to protect 
      seniors against predators.
$    Introduce incentives for new homebuyers and educate them about existing programs such as 
      the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP).
$    Educate homebuyers and owners about positive and negative aspects of ownership issues 
      such as homeowners associations.
   Ensure and promote a range of housing choices and options reflecting a wide spectrum of 
      type, cost, size and location.

Transportation Issues:
$    Assure adequate mass transit is available in all areas of the state.
$    Increase local demand-response transportation specifically designed for the needs of 
      non-ambulatory older persons.
$    Work with the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged to ensure that elder issues 
      are addressed and to insure that its activities foster the development of satisfactory practices 
      for the provision of demand-response transportation.
$   Consider the provision of discount cards and vouchers to seniors to assist with taxi and bus 
      transportation costs.
$   Aggressively pursue strategies to obtain a higher return of Florida’s federal transportation 
     taxe to strengthen the state’s transit systems.

Amenity Issues:
$   Improve education about Florida’s natural amenities through existing publications, tourism 
      materials and mass media. $ Continue to protect Florida’s natural resources and parks so
      they may continue to attract future generations.
$    Continue to promote natural amenities and volunteer opportunities.
$    Develop and distribute welcome packets for new residents.
$    Work with Visit Florida, Chambers of Commerce, local economic development councils and 
      companies that recruit employees from out of state to promote Florida’s image.

Information Technology Issues:
$    Study high-speed Internet access issues.
$    Provide Internet access in rural areas.

Overall Quality of Life Recommendation:
$    Pursue and promote Communities for a Lifetime, an initiative of Governor Bush and the 
      Department of Elder Affairs, to help Florida communities become better places to live, 
      providing all residents with the opportunity to achieve their full potential and contribute to the 
      betterment of their communities. Through this initiative, communities establish partnerships
      and engage in a selfassessment and planning process addressing a variety of areas including 
      universal design for housing, accessibility, health care, transportation and the efficient use of 
      natural resources.

Marketing Plan Recommendations
The Commission recommendation is for the state to develop a campaign with the following two objectives:
$   Attract persons aged 50 and older, paying particular attention to amenity seeking baby 
      boomers, to relocate to/retire in Florida; and
$    Educate and promote awareness to show current Florida residents and policy makers the 
      value and contributions of mature residents.
 
 

The Retirement Industry as an Instrument of Economic Development
$   The retirement industry should be viewed as an important instrument for economic 
      development and diversification. However, for the retirement industry to continue to develop 
      in Florida, the business and social infrastructure necessary to attract retirees needs to be 
      improved.
$   Recruitment may best be targeted to those areas of Florida that are more in need of economic 
     development and have amenities and services to be promoted.
$   Because the retirement industry is an important factor in the state’s economic growth and 
     diversification, a representative from the Department of Elder Affairs needs to be included in 
     the Enterprise Florida strategic planning process.
 
NEXT STEPS
In order to accomplish the implementation of the recommendations in this report and meet the vision of keeping Florida the premier retirement destination, the Commission proposes the following next steps:
$   Make a commitment to continue the work begun by the Destination Florida Commission.
$    Advise the legislature and the news media of the conclusions/recommendations of the 
      Commission.
   Have Commission members meet with local editorial boards to present findings and educate 
      on the value of elders to Florida.
$    Select the entity to be responsible for developing and implementing the marketing campaign.
$    Select the entity to be responsible for developing and implementing the educational campaign.

To carry out these steps, the Commission offers the following possibilities for the placement of responsibility and authority to the consideration of the Governor. However, the Commission is aware that the Governor may have additional considerations to make on this issue and therefore defers to the Governor’s judgment (the order of the alternatives suggested below does not
indicate an order of preference):
$    The Department of Elder Affairs, because of its expertise in retirement and aging, its statutory 
      mission, its experience and existing infrastructure to provide information and assistance in 
      retirement relocation, its role as an advocate for aging issues, and its Communities for a 
      Lifetime Initiative.
$    The Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, because of its mission 
      to assist the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in working with the Legislature, state
      agencies, business leaders, and economic development professionals to formulate policies
      and strategies designed to provide economic opportunities for all Floridians.
$   The Department of State and Community Partnerships, because of its planned mission to bring
      together like programs to provide assistance to communities. 

Regardless of where responsibility is placed, important next steps include:

$   The establishment of a multi-agency council, with a designated person to be responsible for the
      implementation of the Destination Florida recommendations, and with a mandate to work with 
      local governments and the private sector to draw a blueprint for Destination Florida. This 
      blueprint will be the vehicle to guide the implementation of the recommendations contained in 
      this report. The blueprint shall be an actionable document with clearly specified goals, 
      stakeholders and their roles, and policy implementation mechanisms.
$    The review of current and proposed legislation to determine if policy changes are needed or 
      can be made to address recommendations in the report.
 

CONCLUSIONS
The issue discussions and recommendations in this report led the Commission to the following overall conclusions:

$     Other states have started concerted marketing efforts to attract amenity seeking retirees.
       Their efforts have been successful and are starting to take from Florida’s market share.
$     A healthy retirement industry is critical for the continued prosperity of the state. The current 
       level of economic activity that the retirement industry supports cannot be sustained without a 
       substantial and continuous inflow of retirees from other states.
$    A substantial decrease in the number of retirees coming to Florida would have dramatic fiscal 
       and quality of life implications for Florida’s future.
$    Contrary to commonly held beliefs, mature Floridians bring considerably more to the state 
       than they cost the state in services. Residents and policy makers must be educated about the 
       positive impact of elders to Florida’s economy and society.
$     Recruitment of retirees and persons planning for retirement needs to be done in conjunction 
       with meeting the needs of current residents. Issues must be addressed with a positive 
       approach to finding solutions.
$     The state needs to prepare the social support systems that will be required to deal with the 
       long-term care needs of the small minority of retirees who will eventually need them.
$    To strengthen its competitive position, Florida has to approach retirement migration as an 
      ongoing high priority economic development strategy.
$    A multilingual marketing campaign with a strong public relations component is one of the keys 
      to attracting new amenity seeking residents.
 

References And Citations
( 1 ) Unless otherwise specified, a mature person is defined in this report as someone age 50 or older. This is in keeping with the charge to the commission to study the impacts of retirement migrants and to recommend ways to attract and retain amenity seeking retirees. The study assumes that a person moving to Florida at age 50 or older will seriously consider permanent retirement in the state, even if such retirement is still years into the future.
( 2 ) Thomas, Warren & Associates: ‘The Impacts of Mature Residents of Florida”, Phoenix, AZ. 2002 Author.
( 3 ) Fishkind and Associates: “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Florida’s Retirement
Industry”, Orlando, FL 1988.
( 4 ) Presentation to the commission by Mr. Christian Weiss, Chief Economist, Florida Department of Revenue.
( 5 ) Source: ACCRA, American Chambers of Commerce Researchers Association, November 2002. http://www.ded.state.mo.us/business/researchandplanning/indicators/cost_of_living/index.shtml.
( 6 ) Source: ACCRA, American Chambers of Commerce Researchers Association, November 2002.
http://www.ded.state.mo.us/business/researchandplanning/indicators/cost_of_living/index.shtml.
( 7 )  Source: 2002 Annual Performance Report, Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged.
( 8 ) Walters, W.H. “Place Characteristics and Later Life Migration” Research on Aging, Vol. 24, No. 2, March 2002.
( 9 )  Longino, C.F., Perzynski, A.T., and Stoller, E.P. “Pandora’s Briefcase: Unpacking the Retirement Migration Decision,” Research on Aging, Vol. 24, No.1, January 2002.
( 10 ) Longino, C.F., Perzynski, A.T., and Stoller, E.P. “Pandora’s Briefcase: Unpacking the Retirement Migration Decision” Op. Cit.
( 11 )  Del Webb Corp. “The First Baby Boomers Turn Fifty: A Survey of the Attitudes 
and Opinions of People Born in 1946.” Phoenix, AZ. 1996.
( 12 )  Hass, W.H. and Serow, W.J. “The Baby Boom, Amenity Retirement Migration and Retirement Communities: Will the Golden Age of Retirement Continue?” Research on Aging, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2002.
( 13 ) Del Webb Corp. “The First Baby Boomers Turn Fifty: A Survey of the Attitudes and Opinions of People Born in 1946.” Phoenix, AZ. 1996.
( 14 )  Ibid.
( 15 ) Longino, CF. 1995 Retirement Migration In America; Vacation Publications,
Houston, TX.


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