James Madison Institute

Game of Cronies: Florida's Taxpayers Lose Out to Crony Capitalism

March 6, 2017

Florida’s legislature has exhibited a fiscal conservatism that is rare among state governments of its size. During the 2008-2009 recession, many states increased tax rates to cover liabilities, but Florida chose instead to reduce its spending level in inflation-adjusted terms. This fiscally conservative policy put less financial stress on residents and businesses at a crucial juncture in history enabling Florida’s economy to bounce back more quickly in comparison to other states and the national average.

However, Floridians must remain vigilant over the spending of their tax dollars by government officials. Some public policies continue to corrupt and erode sound fiscal policy through their lack of transparency and efficiency. The procedures in place to monitor these policies have limited accountability for outcomes, as well as create greater opportunities for special interests to gain at the expense of the public.

Sticker Shock: Examining the Economic Impacts of Land Acquisition in the EAA

J. Antonio Villamil | February 23, 2017

Over the past several years, a policy debate has emerged surrounding the most efficient and effective course of action to address a complex series of challenges regarding the Everglades – its protection, its restoration, and its future. There isn’t a reasonable scientist, economist, or policymaker who would dispute that the issue is complex, complicated, and ultimately involves sensitivities to all stakeholders.

Florida's Four Walls of Insurance Reform

Practical Market-Based Solutions to Reduce Cost Drivers and Strengthen Florida’s Insurance Market
February 2, 2017

Practical Market-Based Solutions to Reduce Cost Drivers and Strengthen Florida’s Insurance Market.

Florida’s Federal Grants: Special Handling Required

Discovering the true cost of “free” federal money
December 12, 2016

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.

Solving the Everglades Riddle

Addressing Water Quality and Quantity to Restore a Florida Legacy
Daniel Peterson | July 12, 2016

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.

Waters of the United States: A Case Study in Government Abuse

M. Reed Hopper, Mark Miller | August 18, 2015

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).

Lasting Reforms for Florida's Property Insurance Market

R.J. Lehmann | January 26, 2015

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.

Florida’s Dirty Dozen

Sal Nuzzo, Institute for Justice | February 18, 2014

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.

Florida Rising: An Assessment of Public Universities in the Sunshine State - June 2013

June 5, 2013

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.

Preserve Freedom of Contracts in Florida’s Labor Market

Randall Holcombe | February 18, 2013

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.