New Study Explores Crony Capitalism in Florida

A new study published by The James Madison Institute by DeVoe L. Moore Center Policy Analyst Matthew Kelly and Center Director Samuel Staley explores two examples of crony capitalism in Florida’s government policy: sports stadium subsidies and film tax incentives. The authors urge Floridians to remain vigilant over the spending of their tax dollars by government officials and prevent the enrichment of special interests at the public’s expense.

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Study Finds Growth Management Laws Reduce Housing Affordability

by Matt Kelly


A new study by Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole explores the history and effects of growth management in the United States. Growth-management laws, according to O’Toole, “restrict rural development in order to force most growth into the cities.” In “The New Feudalism: Why States Must Repeal Growth-Management Laws” O’Toole finds these laws increase housing prices, exacerbate price volatility, disproportionately harm minorities, and reduce national GDP by as much as 10 percent. The author concludes that states should repeal existing growth-management laws. Continue reading

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Preparing Florida’s Government Policy for The Next Big Hurricane

by Chad Thomas

Political and economic conditions in New Orleans before 2005 left the city unprepared for Hurricane Katrina. The government bureaucracies responsible for levee maintenance were mismanaged and corrupt officials diverted needed funds. Weak economic performance before Katrina also set up affected areas for slow recovery afterward. New Orleans’ experience shows how government can make a bad storm worse for vulnerable communities. Florida, also prone to hurricanes, can avoid these mistakes by learning from Katrina.

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Monopolistic Licensing Board Taken to Court, Others Could Follow

By Matt Kelly


In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina’s State Board of Dental Examiners, which administers the state’s occupational licensing regulations, violated federal antitrust law. Occupational licensing has been growing for decades, both in terms of the number of regulated industries and the costs to those seeking licenses. However, the North Carolina court case is a very new kind of response to such regulatory expansion. North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC could be the beginning of a major overhaul to state occupational licensing regulations across the nation, including Florida. Continue reading

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New Overtime Rules Blocked For Now, But Uncertainty Weighs on Businesses

By Matt Kelly


Work in the United States may be about to change. The Department of Labor (DOL) has updated overtime rules relating to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and some changes could have a big impact on businesses’ labor costs. The rules were set to take effect on December 1, 2016, but a federal judge recently blocked their implementation. The DOL’s intent was to incentivize hiring and improve worker pay and well-being, but most empirical economic research suggests the new rules would do just the opposite.

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New Study Examines Spillover Effects of Real Estate Owned Properties

Since the housing market collapse, banks have repossessed large numbers of homes. These REO or real estate owned properties are often vacant and rundown and can lower the values of nearby residences. While research confirms this spillover effect of REOs on other properties, few studies have evaluated its relative magnitude in different neighborhoods. DeVoe Moore Eminent Scholar Keith Ihlanfeldt and Tom Mayock of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency contribute to this area of inquiry with “The Variance in Foreclosure Spillovers across Neighborhood Types,” an article detailing their analysis of the REO effect in neighborhoods of different income levels and racial composition.

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Local Government Revenue Indicates Sluggish Recovery for Florida’s Businesses

By Benjamin Petersen and Matthew Laird

Revenue collected by Florida’s local governments has grown dramatically in the last few decades, raising the importance that Floridians have an accurate understanding of how our governments raise and spend taxdollars. Revenue collected by local governments from permits, fees, and licenses is of particular importance for Florida’s business and entrepreneurship community as this category includes revenue collected from businesses, in the form of occupational licenses, impact fees and building permit fees, among others. As with total revenues, revenue in this category has grown substantially since 1993 at both the municipal and county level, but has failed to return to its pre-recession peak in 2006. Continue reading

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