Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Home prices in the U.S. increased in January by the strongest margin in seven years, according to CoreLogic. In January, national home prices, including distressed sales, increased 12 percent from the previous year, marking the 23rd consecutive month of yearly increases. More from World Property Channel and the Jacksonville Business Journal.
After years of delay -- and some last-minute website concerns that slowed things down a few more weeks --- Florida's state-based health exchange has finally launched at www.myfloridachoices.org. More at the Tampa Bay Times and the AP.
The House on Tuesday night voted to undo major provisions of a 2012 law that has caused sharp flood insurance rate increases, signaling possible relief after months of rising tension among homeowners in Florida and other states. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Gov. Rick Scott's State of the State speech Tuesday was a marvelous statement of success, according to the faithful, and a beginning stump speech for his re-election campaign, according to the skeptics. In the speech, the governor declared the state a lot better off and took credit for it. [Sources: Lakeland Ledger and the New York Times]
The number of long-term unemployed without access to federal benefits crossed 2 million this week, just a few weeks after crossing the 100,000 threshold in Florida. Beginning in January, the maximum payout of unemployment benefits in Florida decreased from 19 weeks to 16 weeks under a formula tied to its unemployment rate. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› SunRail commuter train gets $63 million in Obama's 2015 budget
The SunRail commuter train is slated to receive $63 million from President Obama's 2015 budget to extend the system south into Osceola County, confirmed U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. SunRail had sought $83 million, but supporters say the amount of federal money marked is not as important as simply being in the budget.
› World's tallest roller coaster coming to Florida
So far, it's billed as the biggest attraction yet in central Florida: The Orlando Eye. You can see the supports for the massive, 425-foot tall observation wheel are in place, and plans are for the attraction to be open by New Year's. But the Orlando Eye could soon be overshadowed.
› St. Pete leaders see potential in port, but challenges too
The city's port has befuddled officials for years. Despite its downtown location, it is small and often overshadowed by its big sister across the bay. Officials have tried various ideas to jump-start economic development at the site, ranging from attempts to woo cruise ships to a fresh seafood market.
› Estonia now has its own consul in Miami
To better link the Republic of Estonia with South Florida, the ministry of foreign affairs in the Northern European nation recently appointed an honorary consul for its new Miami office.
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