JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People driving through Inglewood on their way to the Los Angeles International Airport this week will be greeted by an unfamiliar face on a massive billboard hanging over La Tijera Boulevard — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
The billboard is part of a campaign urging residents in Los Angeles and three other major cities to move to Jacksonville.
“Non-stop flight from LAX to JAX...why not make it one way?” the sign reads. “No state taxes. Affordable real estate. Fresh air.”
Similar signs are also being placed in Chicago, New York and Washington D.C., the city told News4Jax.
“No state taxes. Beautiful weather. Space to grill,” promises a billboard targeting New York City residents, along with two charts comparing real estate prices in the city of 8 million to those in Jacksonville.
A D.C. billboard reads: “Ditch your swamp for ours.”
According to a spokesperson, the city spent $45,000 in taxpayer money on the billboards and the money came from the mayor’s contingency fund.
The mayor gets $100,000 a year to spend how he wants and he used some of the money to target businesses and people in the four large cities, the spokesperson said.
Curry wasn’t available Thursday, but his chief of staff Jordan Elsbury spoke to News4Jax about the billboards.
“Jacksonville is becoming one of the most rapidly growing cities in the country and we want to continue that trend and capitalize on the momentum we have here,” Elsbury said, adding that more people here would increase the tax base. “The mayor is the executive of the city. The people of this county elected the mayor to represent them so it’s highly appropriate that the mayor, the executive of our city, would make the direct ask to residents of the other cities to take a look at Jacksonville and move here.”
The city said the corresponding website, Move2Jax.net, has received 3,800 visits to the site since Tuesday afternoon.