Campaign Finance Reform, Other Research Reports, Latest Updates

Integrity Florida Report Calls the Florida PSC a “Captured” Regulatory Agency

No Comments 02 October 2017

Integrity Florida released a new research report examining the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) and many of the more controversial rate decisions the commission has made in recent years. Read the full report here.

The report, titled Florida’s “Public Service” Commission? A Captured Regulatory Agency, builds on key findings by proposing a series of policy reform options that would greatly improve the PSC’s ability to serve the people of Florida.

“Investor-owned utilities regulated by the PSC have an extraordinary degree of influence on the Governor and the legislature and they have used that influence to pursue favorable decisions by the PSC, at the expense of the public,” said Ben Wilcox, Research Director for Integrity Florida. “This report shows that the Public Service Commission has been “captured” by the very industries it is supposed to regulate.”

The PSC has the dual responsibility of balancing the needs of monopoly utilities and their investors with the needs of consumers. The commission must set rates that are fair, just and reasonable for consumers, but utility investors must also be allowed to earn a reasonable return on their investment. When evaluating recent rate decisions researchers noticed some troubling trends.

“Many contested rate hike requests by utilities are resolved through settlements. However, utilities seem to be gaming the settlement process,” said Alan Stonecipher, Integrity Florida researcher.  “The companies enter negotiations in rate cases much like a used car dealer who marks up the initial asking price knowing that they will eventually agree to a lower amount.”

Read the full report here.

Other Research Reports, Latest Updates

Integrity Florida Publishes New Report on the Impact of Judicial Vacancies on Florida’s Federal Courts

No Comments 11 August 2016

Integrity Florida published a new report that examines Florida’s Federal Judicial Court vacancies and cautions that prolonged inaction by the U.S. Senate could impact the timely administration of justice and result in a crisis in the courts. The report is titled The Impact of Judicial Vacancies on Florida’s Federal Courts.

Florida has 37 authorized federal judges over three districts. For various reasons, there are currently five vacancies, constituting 11 percent of the authorized judges – higher than the national average for court vacancies. Nominations have been made by the President to fill all of the vacancies, but none have been confirmed by the Senate.

“Florida’s federal district courts play a critical role in the administration of both criminal and civil justice,” said Ben Wilcox, Research Director for Integrity Florida. “Unfortunately, prolonged inaction when it comes to filling those vacancies could potentially create obstacles for those seeking access to the courts.” Read the report here.

Other Research Reports, Latest Updates

Minimum Wage Policy and the Resulting Effect on Employment

No Comments 20 July 2015

Integrity Florida released a new report on July 20, 2015 that examines minimum wage policy in state and local governments and the effect that increases in the wage have on employment. The research report does not take a position on either side of the ongoing minimum wage debate. Rather, it seeks to add independent and unbiased context to that debate and answer the question “does increasing the minimum wage result in job loss?”

“We wanted to take an objective look at the claim made by some that an increase in the minimum wage means employers will cut jobs,” said Ben Wilcox, Research Director for Integrity Florida. “Our research found no evidence that claim is true.”

Read the full report here.

Key Findings

•    The preponderance of research finds that raising the minimum wage does not cause job loss.

•    Economists cite several reasons why increases in the minimum wage, which raise employers’ cost, generally do not cost jobs.

•    In the 25 states plus the District of Columbia where the minimum wage has increased since January 1, 2014, through recently in 2015, job growth has been higher than in states where the rate did not go up.

•    Similarly, in all of the five cities and counties where increases in the minimum wage had been in effect for more than a year, the number of jobs has grown.

•    The results of the state and city case studies do not prove that a higher minimum wage results in job growth.  But the results provide no indication that a higher minimum is associated with job losses.

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