FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Florida's tax climate a business draw

While a combination of several factors such as location, demographics and the labor pool influence a company's decision to relocate or expand into a particular state, the tax environment plays a role. A report from Tax Foundation ranked the Sunshine State's tax climate No.5 of all 50 states. Above Florida, other states with a favorable tax climate were Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada and Alaska in the 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

See also:
» 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida banking: Big exit, big opportunity

The end of the BankAtlantic community bank era in Florida means big opportunity for its buyer, North Carolina-based BB&T. Its acquisition of the Fort Lauderdale-based lender shoots it from 11th in deposit market share in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach to sixth. The deal turns the BB&T south Florida region, based in Fort Lauderdale, into the bank’s biggest. Full story...

Need help sorting through the issues on November's ballot? Read
The Amendments
Florida's Constitution
Florida Trend's guide to the 11 proposed amendments:

Amendment 1 - Health Insurance Mandates
Amendment 2 - Veterans Tax Relief
Amendment 3 - Budget-Taxes
Amendment 4 - Property Tax Breaks
Amendment 5 - Judicial Reform
Amendment 6 - Abortion Restrictions
Amendment 8 - Religious Funding
Amendment 9 - Surviving Spouses Tax Relief
Amendment 10- Small Business Tax Break
Amendment 11 - Senior Homestead Tax Exemption
Amendment 12 - Student Representation

Citizens Property Insurance eliminates 'corporate integrity' office

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has disbanded its Office of Corporate Integrity, a curious move for a state-run company that has seen a 52-percent increase in internal complaints and is being investigated for lavish executive spending and other corporate improprieties. On Friday, four members of the Office of Corporate Integrity — which is responsible for handling complaints such as internal corruption, sexual harassment or misuse of funds — received termination letters. Citizens has asked them to sign confidentiality agreements. [Source: Times/Herald]

Charter schools: The real, mixed truth

There are those who argue that charter schools are among the biggest failures in Florida's education system — botched ventures that waste taxpayer money and fail the children who attend them. Those people are right. There are also those who argue that charter schools have been lifesavers — unique learning institutions that serve children in an effective way that traditional schools never could. Those people are right, as well. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Medicare messaging wars target Florida seniors

The attack ads arrive in the mailboxes of Florida voters and pierce the television airwaves with the rapidity of tracer bullets. “Medicare Advantage could vanish,’’ reads a flyer from the conservative group, Americans for Tax Reform. “Seniors could pay $6,000 more a year,’’ warns an ad supporting Obama. Politicos have a shorthand for the chatter: Mediscare. [Source: Times/Herald]


› UF students' startup Feathr wins Shootout
A student startup company that developed an interactive digital business card mobile application won Top Gun at the second annual Gainesville Area Innovation Network Shootout on Monday at the Harn Museum of Art.

› Tech help firm hiring for expansion
Computer school New Horizons sends many of its graduates directly to MyTechHelp, a division of Margate-based Saveology that troubleshoots computer issues for consumers. But the company needs at least 200 more workers who can provide technical help, sales and customer service.

› St. Petersburg Opera finds a permanent home downtown
St. Petersburg Opera will soon no longer be holding rehearsals in rented clubs, church basements or even board members' homes, because the 7-year-old company recently bought a building for itself.

› Miami a finalist for hosting Super Bowl in 2016
What better place to spend your Golden Anniversary than in Miami? The Super Bowl might do just that after selecting South Florida and San Francisco as the two finalists to host Super Bowl L, Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the NFL’s fall meeting in Chicago on Tuesday. The site of the game, which would be held in February of 2016, will be decided next May.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› DEA tells Walgreens: Hand over customer files
Customer files from Florida pharmacies, details on bonuses given to pharmacists, and two years' worth of internal correspondence were among the mountain of data the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration subpoenaed from Walgreens this year, federal records show.

› Feds sign off of widening Port Canaveral channel
The project to widen Port Canaveral’s 400-foot-wide channel by 100 feet and to deepen it by 2 feet along its 3.5-mile length is expected to begin in July and to be completed in the fall of 2014. Design work for the project is under way.

› EA Sports says new scanner boosts realism, accuracy in games
A Lake Mary company's new portable scanner is helping EA Sports improve realism and accuracy in some of its popular sports franchises, officials at the video-game giant say.

› New owners, plans for several St. Petersburg 'Blue Chip' properties
Land sales are up. Permitting is up. And excitement is up in the city's economic development office as nine of the 16 properties advertised for sale less than a year ago as "Blue Chip" sites are now sold or under contract.