CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Other than the choir, Tampa's State of the City speech seemed normal. In fact, we wouldn't even be talking about it up here if Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn hadn't said this:
“We're competing with those cities that would take our best and brightest kids and never send them back,” he said, referring to other cities that have been poaching talent and jobs from Tampa. “I'm not going to stand for that anymore. I am not losing my two little girls to Charlotte, North Carolina. I will be darned to let that happen.”
Whoa. Let's back up.
In 2010, according to IRS numbers—177 people moved from Mecklenburg County to Hillsborough County, Florida, which is home to Tampa. During that time, 220 people moved from there to here. That’s not exactly a lopsided stampede. People there, like people here, are mostly moving to surrounding counties.
There are other similarities. They had the 2012 Republican National Convention. We had at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. They had a share of the Petraeus scandal (Jill Kelley). We had a share of the Petraeus scandal (Paula Broadwell). And our average July temperatures, surprisingly, are nearly the same (Charlotte: 89, Tampa: 90).
Tampa's unemployment (7.6%) is actually lower than ours (9.3%), but more people here have college degrees, 40% in Mecklenburg County compared to 29% in Hillsborough. The average household income is higher here ($55,994 as opposed to $50,195 in Tampa’s home county), but remember, Florida has no income tax.
Tampa is a city of beaches-- occasionally green rivers-- and monkeys on the loose. Charlotte is a city of banks-- sweet tea and wrestlers. In a way, Tampa's mayor was paying us a compliment.
“We're not competing with ourselves,” Buckhorn said, referring to other cities in Florida, “We're competing with Charlotte, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham and San Diego.”
So Charlotte's great? You're preaching to the choir.