Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today.
Incomes are on the rebound in South Florida, thanks almost entirely to government aid. New figures show government aid to residents soared about 40 percent throughout the recession, while overall income from employers dropped or stalled. Thanks to a flood of unemployment checks, increased Medicare benefits for an aging population, and a growing underclass needing food stamps and medical aid, South Florida now relies on government sustenance more than ever before. Read more from the Miami Herald and see details from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
A new public interest group that focuses on ethics in government is accusing Enterprise Florida of conflicts of interest and needless secrecy that keeps taxpayers from knowing how the agency spends their money. Enterprise Florida is the state's public-private economic development partnership. It pays millions in taxpayer dollars to businesses as an incentive to locate or expand in Florida. [Source: AP]
The Internal Revenue Service will immediately begin a pilot program in Florida to fight identity theft-related tax fraud by sharing federal tax return information with local police investigators, the agency announced Wednesday. The pilot program will encourage more cooperation between the IRS and local law enforcement. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Sen. Marco Rubio, while raising his national profile, laid out his foreign policy on Wednesday while urging U.S. leaders to stress trade and economic ties with Latin America. “The United States cannot afford to keep putting Latin America on the back burner as it focuses the bulk of its attention on Asia, Europe and the Middle East,” Rubio, a Republican from Florida, wrote in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Hunting Deutsch, the former Miami banking executive recently named to lead the new state agency tasked with pulling Florida out of its economic malaise, said he stands ready to "do everything possible" to advance Gov. Rick Scott's plan for economic development and job creation.
"Our goal is to make Florida the best state in the nation for business," Mr. Deutsch said in an interview with Miami Today.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Dade Paper gives industrial market some life
Demand for napkins, toilet paper and similar products, particularly in Orlando's attractions area, is helping drive construction of one of Central Florida's first new industrial buildings in years.
› Settlement clears way for PortMiami dredging work
PortMiami’s controversial “Deep Dredge” appears back on schedule — but with an additional $2.3 million in Biscayne Bay restoration and monitoring projects added to the $150 million price tag. That added work, along with tweaks to blasting schedules and other changes intended to protect corals and other marine life, are keys to a legal settlement that effectively clears the way for dredgers to begin work at the port as early as this summer.
› Report details financial mismanagement at USF Poly
Two top administrators at the University of South Florida Polytechnic are facing dismissal following an investigation into complaints of financial mismanagement at the Lakeland campus. And the former leader of the school, Marshall Goodman, could soon be under further investigation himself.
› Busch Gardens, Sea World eliminating plastic bags
Soon there will be no more "Paper or plastic?" questions for shoppers at Sea World and Busch Gardens. The company announced Wednesday it plans to eliminate plastic shopping bags within the next year, the largest theme park operator to make this commitment.
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