Follow The Jobs:  Assessing Florida’s Business Incentives Programs
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Policy Study

Follow The Jobs: Assessing Florida’s Business Incentives Programs

The incentives programs, despite spending billions of taxpayer dollars, have not produced any meaningful or measurable positive economic outcomes for Floridians.

From 1999–2015, Florida spent $3.6 billion on incentive programs to encourage businesses to locate in Florida.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the job creation impact of this set of programs, which is operated at the state and local levels. To do so, it compares a group of counties that received nearly 64 percent ($2.3 billion) of total incentive investment—Brevard, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Orange—with a group of counties that did not receive much incentive funding but are similar in many other ways—Broward, Indian River, Sarasota and Hillsborough.

In theory, the counties with heavily funded incentives (the top four incentive recipients) should be doing at least marginally better at creating jobs over time than those without the incentives.

The findings show that, measured by germane economic outcomes and compared to similar areas, the heavily funded counties do no better than low-funded counties. The incentives programs, despite spending billions of taxpayer dollars, have not produced any meaningful or measurable positive economic outcomes for Floridians.

This analysis concludes that the incentives programs have underperformed and should be eliminated.

Full Study: Assessing Florida Business Incentives Programs

Infographic: Did Florida’s Business Incentives Programs Work?

Spence Purnell is a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, where he works on pension reform, Florida policy issues and economic development.