In overnight news, Donald Trump has impeached the Big Apple — and the Big Apple has impeached him right back. In a series of tweets late yesterday, the president announced that he and his family will transfer their permanent residence to Florida, where he will operate his businesses after the end of his presidency. What’s behind the move? Taxes, natch, but that’s not quite all:
In late September, Mr. Trump changed his primary residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla., according to documents filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Melania Trump, the first lady, also changed her residence to Palm Beach in an identical document.
Each of the Trumps filed a “declaration of domicile” saying that the Mar-a-Lago Club, Mr. Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, will be their permanent residence.
The president confirmed the decision on Twitter after The New York Times reported on the move, saying that he would “be making Palm Beach, Florida, our Permanent Residence.”
It’s worth noting that Florida has no income tax at all, which makes this a fairly lucrative move for someone who earns as much money as Trump. However, that’s too simple a take. Just because he’s moving to the Sunshine State doesn’t mean that Trump will no longer have to file tax returns in New York. He earns a large amount of income there, and most states will assess income taxes for at least those in-state sources. (Plus, let’s not forget all of the property taxes for Trump assets in New York.) Trump will save money on taxes for all of his income from other properties and assets outside of New York, though, and that won’t be an inconsiderable amount of savings.
The big issue driving this wasn’t so much paying the taxes in New York but fighting over the records. Trump complained about being “treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and the state,” which seems very clearly a shot at the efforts to seize and publicize his tax records. The New York Times confirms that motivation for the change:
Mr. Trump, who is deeply unpopular in New York, was infuriated by a subpoena filed by Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, seeking the tax returns, the person close to the president said. Changing his residence to Florida is not expected to have any effect on Mr. Vance’s case, which Mr. Trump has sought to thwart with a federal lawsuit.
A bigger issue might be New York’s progressive inheritance tax. Trump’s vast fortune would have been subject to the state’s 16% rate on his death. Now Trump’s heirs can avoid that altogether with this move to Florida, which has no inheritance tax at all. If Trump’s personal net worth is the $4 billion as he’s claimed, that’s a cool $640 million they’ll keep in their pockets after he’s shuffled off this mortal coil.
Andrew Cuomo and Bill De Blasio were as gracious as you’d expect:
It’s not like @realDonaldTrump paid taxes here anyway…
He’s all yours, Florida. https://t.co/9AX0q1aBkQ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 1, 2019
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out or whatever. https://t.co/bLu88AzKVf
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 1, 2019
Finally, let’s not forget one significant aspect of this change. Trump just moved from a hopelessly blue state to the swing state with the largest amount of electoral votes up for grabs in presidential elections. Making Florida his home state might give Trump a leg up on the Democrats in the state, the most prominent of whom are coming from nowhere near Florida — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Joe Biden, the 50-year Beltway barnacle. How much of a boost Trump will get by parking himself in Mar-a-Lago is certainly questionable, but he wasn’t going to flip New York under any circumstances. Every little bit of advantage Trump can get in holding Florida, he should take.