Manatee County

iis a mid-size Florida county with 150 miles of coastline, 741 square miles of land, and 311,000 residents. The islands are home to 16,000 people while Florida’s Gulf Islands welcome more than two million visitors every year.

Located on US 41 between Tampa and Sarasota, the area is surrounded by fresh and salt waterways and over 20 miles of Florida beaches of which many are shaded by tall Australian pines.

Bradenton residents have a short distance to beaches, shopping, dining and family activities.

Count a tax-friendly environment as one more reason for people to do business in Florida. last week ranked Florida as the fourth most “tax-friendly” state in the union. Rankings place Florida behind only Wyoming, Alaska and South Dakota, and ahead of Nevada, in terms of a states charging the lowest income, sales, gas and sin taxes.

So what does having the most tax-friendly environment in the South mean for attracting business to the Sunshine State? According to Mark Huey, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, it’s another tool to help in recruitment and retainment of companies. “This is part of Florida’s story that drives economic growth,” he says.

“Our favorable tax position drives talent of all kinds here, and that’s good for business.” But Huey noted that the Kiplinger’s rating focused on personal taxes, not on business taxes, the latter of which proves more valuable when it comes to economic development. For business recruitment, Huey says the state could still improve the tax climate. Commercial lease taxes and manufacturing taxes in particular could use reform, he says.

Real estate agents, though, say the ranking serves as just the most recent listing pushing homebuyers to Florida. Xena Vallone, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, says the prospect of lower property taxes and income taxes in particular drive many buyers from the Northeast toward Florida. “They know that when you cross the border you eliminate income taxes right away,” she says. 

Indeed, all five states topping the Kiplinger listings charge no income tax. They also don’t charge any inheritance or estate taxes. And Florida also boasts a lower median property tax than even some states ranked as more tax-friendly. 

Especially for buyers leaving states like Massachusetts and Connecticut, that’s a stark difference. And when you compare the climate in Florida to every other higher-ranked state on the Kiplinger’s list, suddenly Florida looks like the most attractive place in the rankings. “Everybody from the north wants to retire to beaches and warm sunshine,” Vallone says.

“As someone coming here from Buffalo, New York, I wouldn’t go to Alaska to live. Many of our residents are looking for a better quality of life and Florida gives them that.” 


Anna Maria Island

Seven-and-a-half-mile Anna Maria Island is a nostalgic look back to a time when people and things moved slower. As a matter of fact, the maximum speed limit is just 35 miles per hour.



With its hip personality, downtown Bradenton combines antique shops, restaurants and a waterfront district, plus a unique collection of bungalows transformed into art galleries. Home to its own international airport, Bradenton combines culturally advanced attractions like the South Florida Museum with down-home friends, including Snooty™, the world’s oldest manatee and the area’s official mascot. Located to the west of I-75, exits 217 and 220.


Longboat Key, Lido Key, and St. Armands Key

Longboat Key, Lido Key, and St. Armands Key are ideal beach and bayfront settings for the ultimate Florida vacation. Stretching between the Gulf of Mexico and serene Sarasota Bay, these keys attract many visitors who come to enjoy the average year-round temperature of 73 degrees. This area is appreciated by wildlife as well and their waters home to manatee, dolphins, and fish, while pelicans, osprey, and a variety of shorebirds find sanctuary here. There are several parks on the Keys to visit for a relaxing afternoon.


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