October 23, 2014

community portrait

Jacksonville

More than just gathering data, we're capturing elements that make each community distinctive.

Economic Life, continued

Women Entrepreneurs

Some 13% of northeast Florida’s women business owners (seven-county area) gross more than $1 million in sales a year — nationally, that percentage is 3%. Nearly 80% of women business owners among the group started the business they run.

Hurricanes

Jacksonville has suffered fewer direct hits from hurricanes than any other part of Florida.

Taxes

Benefits of consolidation have included relatively lower taxes and greater government efficiency. Jacksonville officials like to brag that they have the lowest tax burden of any major city in Florida and the third-lowest nationwide. Jacksonville’s property tax rate is also the lowest of all major cities in Florida, according to the city. That may have to change, however: The city faces a fiscal crisis due to underfunding its pension obligations and also to a history of passing along the cost of growth to future residents. Mayor John Peyton has proposed a 14% increase in property taxes to stave off the crisis.

Largest City

Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the continental U.S. as a result of the 1968 consolidation of Duval County and city government.

Cost of Living

Jacksonville residents pay a little less than the national average for housing, healthcare, transportation and other goods and services with the exception of food — for which they pay slightly more. They pay slightly more for goods and services than the Florida average.

Sarah Palin in JacksonvilleDuval was the largest county John McCain and Sarah Palin (at Jacksonville Landing) carried in the Southeast.

Politics

Duval County is a GOP stronghold, even though there are far more registered Democrats (46%) than Republicans (37%). Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland says the Dixiecrats — conservative Democrats — help keep Duval voting Republican; it was the largest county John McCain carried in the Southeast. The trend could be changing, though. After not electing a Democrat countywide since 1995, Duval sent a popular former councilman, Democrat John Crescimbeni, back to City Hall last November. But that was a special election held on presidential election day. The real test will be the spring 2011 city council races, which will include Crescimbeni’s bid for re-election and a mayoral race to replace John Peyton. About a dozen well-known names — all Republican — are already floating for the mayor’s race.

Duval County Voter Registration:

Democrat: 241,145 Republican: 193,071 Other: 93,905
Total: 528,121

Consumer Behavior

> Most popular boat in this city surrounded by both ocean and freshwater? The simple, flat-bottomed Carolina Skiff

> Jacksonville is home to the largest percent block of champagne and sparkling wine drinkers in the state.

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Jeb Bush has said he'd accept tax increases as long as they are paired with federal spending cuts. This stance runs counter to conservatives who oppose tax hikes. Is Bush right?

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