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by Joe Graubart

Love them or hate ‘em; the ‘snowbirds’ will be returning any day now. They’ll add to our existing traffic congestion, packing our restaurants, and filling our parking lots.

According to Nasa’s Earth Observatory, “Every winter, more than one million people from Canada and northern parts of the United States, many of them retired, head to Florida to escape the cold. These temporary winter residents,  so-called snowbirds – increase the state’s population by roughly 5 percent.”

Along with business travelers and tourists, many of these ‘birds’ pay the State 6% on “transient rentals” and Palm Beach County another 6% for a Tourist Development Tax. The Palm Beach County website states “this tax strengths our local economy by supporting Palm Beach County’s tourism industry.“  For the fiscal year 2018 the County collected $53,827,955 in tourist bed tax; if the State collected the same amount for PB County, that’s over one hundred million dollars a year ($107,655,910).

So as we see the car carriers unload those Buick’s and Cadillacs let us give thanks that all in all, they not only help pay for our little piece of paradise, they make much of it possible. Besides, while here these snowbirds fortunately transform into sunbirds; and migrate back to their nesting grounds seeking cooler weather.

So, as we may sometimes think to ourselves about visiting relatives during Thanksgiving Day dinner, let’s just say “Nice to see you coming, and nice to see you going.

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