Fiscal Ranking

Florida ranks 4th among the US states for its fiscal health.

Federal Regulatory Impact Ranking

In 2015, Florida experienced the 45th highest impact of federal regulations.

Health Care Ranking

Florida ranks near the middle in the Healthcare Openness and Access Project Index.

Number of Certificate-of-Need Laws

CON laws, which require government permission before adding, expanding, or improving healthcare facilities, have failed to meet any of their stated goals.

+1.62 B
Rainy Day Fund

Florida has $1.62 billion more than it needs to weather a recession of average severity. 


Don't Hamper Disaster Recovery

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Stefanie Haeffele

With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma causing historic flooding and flood-related damage, the National Flood Insurance Program will play an integral role in the recovery process. Residents seeking insurance payouts through the flood insurance program often rely on this source of funding for repairing and rebuilding their homes and businesses. Unfortunately, this program has been falling short in two key ways:

The National Flood Insurance Program was established in 1968 and is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program aims to provide affordable flood insurance to property owners in flood zones and to encourage the management and mitigation of flood-prone areas. However, the program has short-changed the insured in the past and is running out of money, making it an unreliable source of assistance for Americans impacted by disasters.

Second, when a home floods, the owner generally faces three options: relocate, rebuild the same house or rebuild a more flood-resistant house. The program aims to encourage rebuilding more flood-resistant housing, yet in practice, it actually encourages rebuilding the same house in the same flood-prone area.

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Stefanie Haeffele on Bloomberg Radio

Stefanie Haeffele discusses disaster recovery after Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Stefanie Haeffele
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Sep 11, 2017
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Getting an Accurate Picture of State Pension Liabilities

December 13, 2010

State governments have reported unfunded pension liabilities—the difference between what plans have promised to pay public workers and the assets set aside to pay out these benefits—of $452 billion as of June 2009.  Estimates place the shortfall in local plans at an additional $190 billion. These reported figures, however, severely underestimate the pension obligations governments owe to public workers. To measure pension obligations accurately, state and local governments must institutionalize the correct measurement of pension liabilities: the market value of liabilities (MVL), which properly accounts for the guaranteed nature of public pension benefits.

Recognizing the unsustainable future of current public pension plans, many state legislatures are considering pension reform. Unfortunately, most proposed reforms are insufficient to fill the funding gap because government accounting standards continue to underestimate the true debt.

Spending Restraint in Florida

September 23, 2010

Following the economic collapse of 2008, almost every state in the Union faced a significant budget shortfall. Florida was no exception. Yawning budget gaps plagued the state budget in 2009 and 2010. Though the recession was the proximate cause of the gaps, decades of overspending spawned Florida’s fiscal woes. Furthermore, the predicament was avoidable. If Florida had held spending constant for the last 20 years while adjusting for inflation and population growth, it would have avoided its 2009 budget gap. Moreover, the state can avoid future budgetary problems by restraining the growth of spending, permitting Floridians greater economic freedom, and adopting stronger balanced-budget requirements.

Florida's Budget and the State's Outlook: Education Spending

February 16, 2010

In this testimony, senior research fellow Eileen Norcross advises the Florida congress on better courses of action regarding it's budget deficits, particularly in regard to education spending. As of today, the state of Florida faces a budget gap of at least $3 billion. Last year’s $66.5 billion budget was balanced through a combination of quick fixes, including $2.2 billion in tax hikes, $5 billion in federal stimulus dollars, and $1 billion in cuts. This year’s $69 billion proposed budget takes a flawed approach: Expanding spending by relying on uncertain stimulus funds, pushing Florida closer to what Scott Pattison of the National Association of State Budget Officers calls “the stimulus cliff.” When federal funds recede, unless Florida institutes meaningful spending reforms, budgetary gaps will reappear. The choices Florida’s government makes today are vital to Florida’s future.  

Norcross argues that effectively designed spending limits with competition in the provision of education will have the combined effect of increasing accountability in school spending, lowering costs, improving outcomes, and enhancing prosperity for Florida’s residents and economy.  

Occupational Licensing and Asymmetric Information: Post-Hurricane Evidence from Florida

November 15, 2008

View article.

Skarbek, David. "Occupational Licensing and Asymmetric Information: Post-Hurricane Evidence from Florida." Cato Journal 28, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 73-82.

Federal, state, and county governments accept the argument that occupational licensing protects consumers and improves their welfare. This argument stands in stark contrast to the apparent rent seeking that occurs with licensing. In return for gains from state-created barriers to entry, coalitions built along occupational lines support politicians.

This article will show that government action in times of crisis is often inconsistent with its rhetoric. Licensing is typically justified on the grounds that market mechanisms will not mitigate the problems associated with asymmetric information. In the wake of Hurricanes Frances and Katrina, Florida reduced restrictions on construction contractors, yet in times of crises informational asymmetries are more likely to be problematic. By examining the volume of work completed, I find little evidence of significant detrimental effects from the policy change. Given the relative success of reducing restrictions and the government's explicit recognition of licensing's limiting effect on the availability of roofers, reform of licensing, at least to the extent done in crisis, should be adopted permanently.