When someone thinks "government corruption," one readily thinks "FLORIDA!"
But as it turns out, our fair state of supreme malfeasance has been tanking a little in the rankings. At least, according to one study.
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws since 1976 and have concluded that there are actually nine states more corrupt than ours.
Come on, Florida! You're slipping!
That's right, places like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alaska (Alaska!!) are apparently more corrupt than Florida.
That's changed from just a couple of years ago, when a 2012 study from Integrity Florida revealed that the state had 781 public corruption convictions between 2000 and 2010 -- making Florida number one overall in the U.S. The ranking was helped thanks to the state being one of two to net more than 100 convictions in a single year.
Another 2012 study, this one by the University of Illinois, ranked Florida at number four overall in the nation.
That study, which also began its findings in 1976 culled from the Department of Justice, showed an average of 49 public corruption convictions a year for Florida -- or about one a week for 35 years.
This latest study -- which seems insanely exhaustive -- focuses on the money corruption is costing each state.
Overall, the study finds that corruption on the state level is costing Florida an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2 percent of the state's average expenditures.
[...]corruption is likely to distort states' public resource allocations in favor of higher-potential "bribe-generating" spending and items directly beneficial to public officials, such as capital, construction, highways, borrowing, and total salaries and wages. The authors use an objective, concrete, and consistent measurement of corruption, the number of convictions.
Basically, the study concludes that going after corruption would help state spending without hurting public works.
So there you have it, Rick Scott and/or Charlie Crist. You want to help curb spending in Florida? Get after those corrupt officials.
Here's the list of the top ten most corrupt states, according to the study:
1. Mississippi 2. Louisiana 3. Tennessee 4. Illinois 5. Pennsylvania 6. Alabama 7. Alaska 8. South Dakota 9. Kentucky 10. Florida