J. Antonio Villamil

Founder & Senior Advisor, Washington Economics Group

June 2018


Tony Villamil is a nationally recognized economist who founded the Coral Gables-based Washington Economics Groups in 1993. He was the founding Dean of the School of Business at St. Thomas University from 2008 to 2013, after which he returned to the WEG as senior advisor. He is also the immediate past Chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors for Florida, and previously served as Undersecretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush. He is a long-time resident of Coral Gables. 


Recently produced a report on the economic costs of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s 2011 fast-tracked law to require a 5-year waiting period for non-violent offenders to have their civil rights restored. An amendment to end the law is up for a vote in November.  


“The Washington Economics Group estimates that passing Amendment 4 would result in important positive economic benefits to Florida taxpayers,” says Villamil. “These benefits will come from two sources: reduced court and prison costs through a decline in the recidivism of eligible individuals who have completed all the terms of their sentences, and increased earning power for them through improved employment opportunities.” Villamil and the WEG estimate that if Amendment 4 is passed, it would have a positive economic impact of $365 million per year – $223 million from reduced court and prison costs, and $143 million due to increased income from 3,800 new jobs.