It happens in every state every year. The federal government takes tax dollars and redistributes money back to the states in the form of grants. These may be used to supplement state budgets for things like education, transportation, environmental protection, caring for veterans, or maintaining a justice system, just to name a few. At times, these grants come “with a catch” such as matching money, hidden costs, or requirements to comply with boatloads of bureaucratic administrative mandates. But even worse, sometimes the grants don’t come back at all or they are returned with less than promised. This can wreak havoc on a state’s budget.
What singular policy issue has lingered in Florida, despite having been discussed for decades, hotly debated in multiple legislative sessions, and subject to expensive lobbying efforts? What issue has induced emotional pleas, received billions of dollars to spend on planning and projects, and continues to be a costly and complex effort? If you answered, “Restoring the Everglades” you win the prize.
In a coast-to-coast power play, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have released a rule to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) for application of the Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act).
Instead of taking steps to reinforce its shaky insurance system, Florida’s state government has used this period of population and economic growth, coupled with tropical calm, to continue to artificially suppress insurance rates by underpricing the insurance products it sells to consumers as well as primary property insurers.
Governments too often go well beyond what’s required to protect the public’s health and safety. Nowhere is this more evident than in business regulations that stifle industries.
The State University System of Florida has in recent years faced major budgetary challenges, remarkable for the size of its reductions in state funding, even when compared to the large cuts seen in so many states struck by the recession of 2008. What is more surprising in the world of higher education, however, is the progress that Florida’s public universities have achieved on such key indicators of quality as graduation and retention during these challenging times.
The State of Florida and many of its local governments have provided millions of dollars in incentives for businesses to locate, remain, and/or expand in this state. The goal has been to boost the economy, expand the tax base, and reduce poverty by fostering the creation of good job opportunities throughout the state.
What lures visitors to Florida and keeps them coming back is the hospitality industry – the restaurants, hotels, attractions, and ancillary services – that cater to visitors and Floridian’s alike. Now this job-creating industry is facing a growing challenge. A minimum wage amendment that Florida voters approved in 2004 has had an unintended consequence: a disparate and damaging effect on an industry in which many workers rely on tips as a substantial portion of their wages.
A curious form of buyer’s remorse is now evident among some of the recent college graduates taking part in the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” protests in major cities around the nation. Many of these graduates complain that earning a college degree has left them jobless and deeply in debt. Indeed, the total amount of money owed on student loans now rivals the nation’s total credit card debt.
The ways that Floridians purchase coverage to protect their property and insure their vehicles has, increasingly, placed a significant drag on the state’s economy. Both the state’s automobile insurance system – particularly the “no-fault” personal injury protection (PIP) portions of it – and the state’s homeowners insurance system have very serious flaws that threaten the state’s business climate and, indeed, the financial well-being of all its citizens.