Thursday, August 23, 2018

Movin' On Up!

According to the Cato Institute, I live in what is now the freest of the 50 states.

I've lived most of my life (continuously from toddler-hood to age 46, excepting military deployments and such) in Missouri, which ranks 11th.

I haven't sorted through all the details, but I will say I feel more free. I'm just not sure it's based on state-level stuff.

My last 12 years in Missouri were spent in a middle class suburb of St. Louis (right outside the city limits) with a local government that wanted to treat the place as an all-but-gated exclusive community. They did their damnedest to regulate and milk the residents to death.

In Florida, I'm technically "suburban" (just a few miles out of Gainesville), but for all practical purposes "rural." I live in a trailer on a one-acre wooded lot on a dead end street.

The only interaction I've had with the state/county/local government at home was getting a sticker on my trash dumpster notifying me that it's not allowed to be overstuffed, and that if I need to put more trash out than it will hold I can buy exorbitantly priced special bags.

My recollection is that Tamara has been pulled over one time in six years, for a tail light being out and that the fine was waived as long as she went down to the courthouse and proved she had fixed it. There were a bunch of unfriendly "respect my authoritah" cops at one protest I went to, but they were state cops. The local cops (I know one of them from church) and the deputy sheriffs are generally either friendly or, if in a group protest situation, hang back and just let people bloviate, etc.

The sales taxes are pretty low here, and even seem to not apply to many items. There is no state income tax. I'm told that Alachua County has higher property taxes than most, which is probably reflected in my rent. I'm also told they have more onerous environmental standards for building than most, but I haven't tried to build anything. When I get behind on mowing the lawn, nobody complains (half the lots in the area are vacant and get brush-hogged maybe once a year; of the inhabited lots, lawn maintenance does not seem to be a priority for at least half).

We got some kind of medical marijuana scheme a couple of years ago, and I expect we'll get recreational legalized or decriminalized or whatever this November. I know that it's possible to get arrested over pot, but I've seen people smoking it openly in public without apparent consequence.

U-turns are legal! Tamara loves that. Even after nearly six years, I accuse her of contriving to get into traffic situations where U-turns make sense.

I'm absolutely certain that there's bad government in Florida. I read about it sometimes. But so far I haven't really seen it, at least that I can think of.

Yeah, feels pretty free to me, relative to other places I've been. Always room for improvement, though!

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