What you need to know about Florida today
For the first time in five years, Florida policymakers are looking at a horizon free of projected budget shortfalls, thanks to growing tax collections and cuts to spending on classrooms, road-building and the state's social safety net. The state's top economist told the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Wednesday that lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott would have more flexibility next year when they write a new budget than at any time since 2007. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida's unemployment rate has dropped from 9.9 percent in December to 8.8 percent in July. The rate, however, would be little changed at 9.8 percent if not for a substantial number of people dropping out of the labor force, according to the Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Promised their investment would help lure 500 high-paying jobs to Florida, lawmakers in 2009 sidestepped existing procedures to funnel $20 million to a well known movie production company that animated the scenes in Titanic and the Transformers movies. But this story's ending isn't one for the movies. [Source: Times/Herald]
When it opened in 2006, the University of Florida’s $125-million Proton Therapy Institute was the only one in the Southeast and only one of five in the country. No longer. There are now 10 centers in the United States. And in Florida, cancer centers at the University of Miami, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and South Florida Radiation Oncology are now pursuing plans to purchase their own proton therapy machines. Full story...
Debate raged last week as members of the Congress of Motion Picture Associations met to discuss how Florida can better compete with Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina in the race to lure film productions. Some members, including Chris Ranung, the group's president, say the state should expand its incentive program and remove the $8 million cap on incentives per project. But others say the program, which grew from $2.45 million in 2003 to its current $296 million, is successful. [Source: Miami Today]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Sarasota County issues most building permits in 6 years
In home construction, this summer has been one for the post-recession record books. During June, Sarasota County government issued 117 permits, the highest number since June 2006. Then in July, the average value for a newly permitted home hit $332,000 in Sarasota County, the highest since September 2008.
› There’s a market for used smartphones
So you’re itching to buy an iPhone 5. And you’re wondering what, if anything, you can get for that smartphone you’re now carrying. Possibly hundreds of dollars, depending on the make, model and condition of the phone, said Dan Brauser, chief executive of uSell.com, a Fort Lauderdale-based online resale marketplace for electronic items.
› All Aboard Florida still seeking route to airport
Would-be builders of a billion-dollar privately financed train still are looking at several options on how to get from near Cocoa to Orlando International Airport.
› Magazine ranks New College No. 5 in nation
New College’s academic profile continues to shine among the nation’s elite. In a survey released Wednesday, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida’s honors school among the country’s top 100 best public liberal arts institutions.
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