March 22, 2023
DeSantis and the state Legislature have provided a blueprint for federal lawmakers.
Federal permitting reform should be at top of Congressional leaders’ priority list in 2023. It’s common sense, conservative policy that earns bipartisan support.
And federal lawmakers need to look no further than the state of Florida to appreciate the positive impact.
The construction industry is an important economic driver in the state. And with people moving to our sunny, business-friendly environment daily, housing is always in high demand. Beginning in 2019, our organization began to focus on eliminating onerous construction permitting in the state to speed up the building process and reduce unnecessary costs.
In 2022, the Legislature acted on a number of those recommendations, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill restructuring the permitting process for home building in the state. The legislation also took important steps to increase transparency for Florida homeowners in a system that is all too often shrouded in layers of government bureaucracy.
These permitting reforms helped streamline the processing of permits. It limited cities and counties to 30 business days in order to process an application to build a new home. If localities fail to meet these deadlines, then they must refund 10 percent of the application fee for every business day that passes without them taking action. Importantly, Florida’s permitting reform law also increases transparency by requiring jurisdictions to post their permitting process and the status of current permit applications online.
The result: permits are being approved faster than ever before, helping us meet the growing demand for housing in our state. This is all incredibly encouraging news for Florida homeowners, particularly since our own research found that permitting delays added up to $6,900 to the cost of a typical Florida house.
Given the undeniably positive impact permitting reform has had in our state, it only makes sense for lawmakers in Washington to take a page out of Florida’s book and work together to pass comprehensive permitting reform at the federal level. Doing so will help hold government officials more accountable and, critically, help advance a number of energy and infrastructure projects here and across the country by shortening and streamlining what is currently a multi-year process that costs consumers, taxpayers, and private investors valuable time and money.
Sen. Marco Rubio has been a steady voice in Congress on this issue, as he was during his time in Tallahassee. And he’s not alone. There is a bipartisan call for reform.
Currently, energy and infrastructure projects that could yield real economic benefits for Florida communities, unfortunately, face massive bureaucratic hurdles and delays as a result of our inefficient permitting process. Environmental reviews alone can take several years—sometimes more than ten years — adding costs, discouraging private investment, and preventing job creation or quality-of-life benefits from reaching local communities.
Cutting government red tape and reducing the highly duplicative siting, review, and permitting processes that can happen when local, state, and federal officials are all involved will help advance critical projects that will spur innovation, strengthen the American economy, and make the domestic energy market more competitive globally.
With Sen. Rubio’s leadership, it’s time for Washington to follow the lead of Florida lawmakers by passing true, comprehensive federal permitting reform.