Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Federal officials on Wednesday renewed calls for Florida lawmakers to accept an estimated $50 billion over the next 10 years to expand Medicaid, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor, to cover an additional one million Floridians who would otherwise remain uninsured even after Jan. 1 when healthcare reform begins in earnest. More from the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.
As schools and students replace ink and paper with pixels, some states are expanding their holidays to cover sales taxes on low-cost computers and tablets. These electronics are eligible for the tax breaks in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Read more from McClatchy and see also:
Family-run Publix is both the largest employee-owned company and the most profitable grocer in America. Those two facts are linked, and they might be the formula for fending off Bentonville’s retail behemoth. [Source: Forbes]
Big defense contractors are weathering the federal budget sequester far more easily than they projected, in part because they have gradually eliminated jobs over the past few years in anticipation of spending cuts. Read more from the Washington Post and see also:
Mortgage Investors Corp., the beleaguered home lender run by prominent civic activist Bill Edwards, is laying off about 325 employees at its St. Petersburg headquarters, roughly a third of its workforce. Edwards blames the layoffs on a poor bond market. The news comes less than a month after the Federal Trade Commission levied a civil penalty of $7.5 million on the home lender, the largest fine ever for a violation of the "Do Not Call" telemarketing rule. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida taxpayers pay for increased security at state Capitol
The continuing sit-in at the state Capitol is increasing security costs for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The department says it has been forced to bring in extra officers and pay more overtime during the first week of the protest, so the total bill is $116,000.
› Florida court orders state to pay former pig farmer
A Florida appeals court is siding with a former pig farmer who says voters put him out of business. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that the state owes a Panhandle farmer $505,000 plus interest because he had to shut down his pig farm.
› June hotel performance shows continued improvement
Hotels throughout South Florida posted strong results for June as occupancy and rates climbed compared to a year ago. In Miami-Dade, hotels were about 74 percent full in June, a year-over-year increase of 2 percentage points.
» Related: Orange hoteliers' top tourist tax priorities: convention center, marketing
› Orlando rents on the rise
Renters in the Orlando area have seen their monthly rents increase twice as much from a year ago than renters nationally, a new report shows. In June, landlords in the four-county Orlando area asked a median of $1,238 for monthly rental rates in apartments and single-family homes — an increase of 3.3 percent from a year earlier.
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