Millions of Americans are buying tickets for Wednesday's $500 million Powerball lottery, and you'd think that would mean a big economic boost for the 43 states participating. That's not a sure bet. It's a big infusion for state coffers. But some experts wonder if state economies would get more of a boost if consumers bought goods and services instead of lottery tickets. [Source: CNNMoney]
» Powerball: Florida a winner no matter what
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For the first time, the U.S. Department of Education has put out a state-by-state comparison of graduation rates using a common method of calculation. It showed that Florida’s 71 percent graduation rate in the 2010-2011 school year put it among the worst in the nation. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
The head of a new committee in the Senate set to focus on gaming issues says he expects the panel to conduct a thorough study of gambling in Florida instead of moving quickly. "It would be very appropriate to try to take a comprehensive look at gaming for the state of Florida," said Sen. Garrett Richter, a Naples Republican. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]
To make way for a proposed network of sprawling toll roads, Florida transportation officials are considering reserving tracts of remote timberlands, cattle ranches and phosphate mines from some of the state's largest landowners. According to a memo released this week by the Florida Department of Transportation, five companies who own a combined 5 percent of the land in the state support the concept of Future Corridors. [Source: Times/Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Campaign aims to stop feared termite from spreading [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A dangerous Caribbean termite that's consuming trees, walls and ceilings in Dania Beach will be the target of a renewed eradication campaign, with state officials saying this may be their last chance before the species spreads through South Florida.
› Community foundation offers solution for year-end giving [Gainesville Business Report]
With the end of the year quickly approaching, many people are starting to think about year-end giving and how they want to allocate their available funds. It can, however, be difficult to decide where to dedicate your money and is often a hassle to manage your yearly contributions.
› JEA gives $2.4 million in bonuses to employees [Florida Times-Union]
JEA has written $1,250 bonus checks to every employee of the city-owned utility after reaching a series of safety and cost-saving goals. The payouts cost JEA about $2.4 million.
› Opinion: Fairness for Florida merchants [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
As more Americans turn to their computers and smartphones for holiday bargains, Florida remains stuck in the dark ages, content to leave roughly $803 million a year on the table in uncollected sales taxes for purchases made online.
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› Florida attorney general laments health reform’s impact on businesses [Palm Beach Post]
Speaking today about the Supreme Court decision that largely upheld the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi told a Florida Chamber of Commerce Insurance Summit in Orlando “of course we were all disappointed in the ultimate outcome.”
› Disney boosts annual dividend 25% [Orlando Sentinel]
Walt Disney Co., the world's largest entertainment company, raised its annual dividend Wednesday by 25 percent, joining other companies in boosting their payouts ahead of an expected increase in tax rates.
› GRU, eight others look for provide energy to UF [Gainesville Sun]
If the University of Florida seeks a new campus energy provider, Gainesville Regional Utilities will have competition for the contract from outside the area.
› Insurance official: National cat fund a “beach house bailout” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Charles Chamness, president of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, called the national catastrophe insurance program a “beach house bailout” and said his group would work to stop it from moving forward.