Regulators Adapt to the Sharing Economy

By Matt Kelly

The so-called “sharing economy” has revolutionized the way people travel, lodge, eat, and work through companies such as Uber, Lyfft, airbnb, and OpenTable. Buyers and sellers are increasingly transacting on online platforms that use a mix of demand pricing, reputation mechanisms, and computer algorithms to match users. This innovation represents a dramatic challenge to regulators, whose enforcement framework is designed for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Some jurisdictions have been accommodating, while others have cracked down.

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New Policy Brief Critical of Florida’s Economic Development System

By Matt Kelly

A new DeVoe L. Moore Center policy brief criticizes Florida’s economic development system. Targeted industry incentives have played a prominent role in the economic development strategies of state governments for decades. In the late 1970s and 1980s, enterprise zones and tax incentives were seen as an appealing “market-oriented” alternative to New Deal and Great Society spending programs since they rely on incentives rather than mandates to spur economic development. By 2012, states spent or forewent tax revenue worth an estimated $80.4 billion annually for these programs. Florida alone spends over $1 billion annually on such programs.

Unfortunately, numerous studies have found targeted tax incentive programs have no significant impact on job creation. The consensus among academic economists is that tax incentives for specific businesses or industries do not significantly improve the state and local economies, and may in fact diminish national growth. Economic development policy should be business-friendly, but targeted industry incentives run the risk of encouraging cronyism, reducing tax revenue, and misallocating scarce resources.

To learn more about Florida’s dysfunctional economic development system, read “State Economic Development Policy Falls Short“.

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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

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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

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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

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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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