By Joe Jarvis
Tulsa, Oklahoma offers $10,000 to any remote worker who moves to the city. And to sweeten the deal, they are throwing in a free membership at a co-working space.
On January 1, 2019, Vermont will begin its new program offering $10,000 worth of tax credits to remote workers who move to the state.
Employees aren’t the only ones Vermont is trying to draw to its rolling hills: Companies that move to Vermont can get up to $125,000 in total credits in 2019 and up to $250,000 in 2020 to cover relocation costs, equipment expenses, broadband updates and employee membership fees for co-working spaces.
Remote workers are an extra driving force encouraging states, cities, and even countries to compete with each other. Money follows remote workers to their new state or city, instead of coming from the pool of jobs which already exist in that jurisdiction. When that new resident spends money on rent, food, entertainment, and so on, it is a net gain for the state.
As more and more people work remotely, expect better and better deals from states and cities.
Already digital nomads are driving this trend forward, constantly voting with their feet.
Cities, states, and countries compete every day for residents. Based on taxes, laws, regulations, ease of doing business, corruption, cost of living and so much more, different locations can attract residents by being more friendly places to live and work.
But more and more jurisdictions are actively taking this competition to the residents they want to attract. Low taxes and rich culture are great… but money talks.
To try to keep educated young people in the state, Maine will slash your tax bill by the amount you pay each year in student loans if you graduated between 2007 and 2016. So if you pay $2000 for student loans, and your tax bill is $3000, Maine will only charge $1000. They even offer this to people who graduated from college after 2015 outside of Maine and relocate to the state.
Candela, a town in Italy with a dwindling population, offers up to $2,350 for a family or $950 for singles to move to the historic medieval town.
Towns in Kansas and Nebraska offer free plots of land to anyone who agrees to build a house.
New Haven, Connecticut offers generous cash incentives for new homeowners.
Last week I wrote about how secession from the Soviet Union created competition among former member states. I said that countries like Estonia are innovating with their e-residency program, and this made them more competitive against other former Soviet countries like Georgia.
Five days after I published that article, Georgia announced that they are starting their own e-residency program. Clearly, we have a little friendly competition going on between the two up and coming nations.
Someone commented that it doesn’t matter how innovative these countries become, because they lost citizens after the Soviet Union collapsed, and their birth rates are too low to grow the population.
It is true that Estonia and Georgia lost citizens to emigration in the wake of the Soviet collapse, and the populations continue to decline.
What better way to reverse this trend than offering a compelling reason to immigrate to the country? It cannot be denied that the economies of these countries are growing.
E-residency is still in its infancy, and we don’t know yet what final form it could take. In the stale nation-state style governing structures of the 20th century, population decline is a major problem. But looking to the future of government, e-residency could be the calling card of 21st-century super-powers.
Look at it this way: if they can sell you citizenship and government services without you having to physically live in the country, who cares what their population is?
They are signaling their intentions to become some of the first “distributed governments,” not relying on borders to offer services, but instead providing for citizens wherever they reside.
Imagine canceling your subscription to the United States government, and signing up for Estonian government instead, without moving. That’s the future I want to live in.
Remember, the online world is new and ever growing. In business competition, the lumbering old dinosaurs are killed off by nimble young innovators offering new and better products.
Which brings us to the losers in the modern world…
Some cities don’t even want you to visit… New York City recently invested $7 million into a program to enforce its ban on entire apartment Airbnb rentals. Last month they carried out raids against hosts.
Los Angeles restricts the number of days an apartment can be listed each year unless the host pays over $1,000 per year to the city.
Washington, DC plans on enacting the strictest rules in the country on Airbnb hosts.
These and many other “dinosaur” jurisdictions continually harass Airbnb hosts, destroying a valuable sector of their economy, to protect the hotel lobby.
Large cities often try to push Uber out as well, propping up the old expensive subpar taxi services, and killing the market for affordable transportation.
Times, they are changing.
Some may scoff at choosing to live in Tulsa, OK over NYC. But even Oklahoma, the reddest of red states, recently legalized medical marijuana.
To me, that suggests the future will not be built along party lines.
It will be decided by free people–free to move, free to travel, to use innovative services, to reward friendly jurisdictions by visiting and residing there.
And sooner or later, governments will be little more than insurance companies, offering their services wherever you reside.
Yes, for now, big governments can and will continue to crack down and tighten the grip on the unlucky citizens that remain.
But it is becoming easier and easier to take your business elsewhere.
You can read more from Joe Jarvis at The Daily Bell.