Monday's Afternoon Update
What You Need to Know About Florida Today
Florida gets C-minus in corruptibility assessment
If you think this state is a swamp of corrupt politics, you are only partly correct. A national study by journalism watchdog organization the Center for Public Integrity says that in terms of government integrity, Florida is in the middle of the pack. A C-minus for Florida -- not great, but not horrible -- puts the state at 18th overall. In particular, Florida got high marks for its redistricting process and internal auditing. But in one area, Florida fell behind the rest of the country: Lobbyists enjoy free reign in the halls of Tallahassee, despite what seem like some of the toughest laws on the books. More analysis from the Miami Herald. Original report is here.
FP&L asks for $690.4 million base-rate increase
Florida Power & Light Co. today filed its formal request for a $690.4 million base rate increase with the Florida Public Service Commission. The company notified the PSC that it would seek the increase because its existing rate agreement, which froze rates for three years, expires at the end of this year. Base rates for typical residential customers would only increase about $2.48 a month- a 2.6 percent increase. If approved, the increase would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2013. Read more at the Palm Beach Post.
Does your business make it hard for customers to purchase from you? You’ve seen it before — you want to give a company money for their great products and services, but they place barriers in front of you at almost every turn. Lift yourself out of the "sales prevention" mindset — let your buyers buy in ways that suit them, not you. Look at your processes and tactics to find ways to simplify life, for your prospects and you too.
Rubio moves up release of book
Sen. Marco Rubio's book is coming out earlier than previously expected. He tweeted today the jacket of American Son and said it would come out June 19. Previously, the book had been slated for an October release. Amazon has An American Son listed for $14.97. The jacket begins:
"Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Marco Rubio. At age forty-one he’s the subject of widespread interest and speculation. But he has never before told the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that made him an American son."
More from the Tampa Bay Times Buzz Blog.
Small Biz Advice
Technology replacing customer service
Watching trends is such an important task for entrepreneurs. One trend that I see happening now is the replacement of traditional customer service with technology. One of the reasons the use of technology is becoming so widespread so quickly is that the younger generation prefers to communicate through technology as opposed to traditional, in-person methods of contact... Continued.
Senior housing not filling up, so retirees might benefit
Occupancy rates for senior communities and assisted living facilities, which began dropping about five years ago, continue to lag behind national averages, according to an analysis recently released by the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry. New development has slowed almost to a standstill in South Florida, with only one major project under construction. As a result, "I'm seeing for the first time in a long time assisted living and independent living facilities making very reasonable rates available to people who might not have been able to afford these facilities up to now," said Roberta Grafman, co-founder of Sun Family Care Services, a geriatric care-management agency based in Deerfield Beach. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Savings in the Spotlight
How ordinary jobs + saving = $1 million
Janice and Alex Cover are a seemingly normal couple with ordinary jobs -- he's a flight attendant and she's in the insurance industry. But the Covers have extraordinary discipline, enough to be the quiet millionares next door. They already paid off their 3,100-square-foot home in Weston and have amassed nearly $1 million in retirement savings a decade before they retire. Alex Cover said they "always lived within our means," and "We didn't buy Lexuses." At a time when many South Florida baby boomers worry that they can't afford to retire, the Covers show how it can be done. Full story at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.