Amid growing legislative scrutiny of corporate tax-incentives, a new non-partisan report gives Florida props for capping how much taxpayer money it uses to entice companies to keep or expand jobs here. Read more from the Orlando Sentinel and the Jacksonville Business Journal and see the report from the Pew Center.
Harold Ross, who retired at age 42 from his position as CEO of a software company and spent three years traveling and hunting around the world, decided to open his hunting ranch after discovering that lots of places “overpromised and under-delivered.” His is just one of the lodges we profile here.
Slightly more Floridians — about 4.8 million — are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home for the 2012 year-end holidays, travel group AAA announced Thursday. "The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation," said AAA Travel Vice President Brent Hubele, in a statement. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
This week, Michigan became the country’s 24th Right to Work state, which has prompted close examinations of what such laws mean for a state’s economy. Florida was already one of the 23 Right to Work states. Studies published in the last few weeks have documented the effects of Right to Work laws in states including Florida. [Source: Florida Center for Investigative Reporting]
A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill that would force most Bright Futures recipients to stay in Florida after graduation or pay back the scholarship money. House Bill 35 says a graduate must stay and work in Florida six months for every semester the scholarship was used. [Source: StateImpact Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› 36 Hours in Sarasota [New York Times]
Where else can one spend the morning reveling in the beauty of works by Peter Paul Rubens, Frans Hals and Botticelli and the afternoon lolling on a powdery white sand beach? That is the lure of Sarasota, the city perched on the Gulf of Mexico where John and Mable Ringling, the circus impresario and his wife, set the stage for a vibrant cultural life after buying land there in 1911.
› Citizens pulls back from loan program [Orlando Sentinel]
Citizens Property Insurance Corp will shelve a $350 million loan program while it gathers data and looks at more options to reduce the number of policies in the state-backed insurer.
› Presidential debate boosts October hotel stays, tourism tax revenues [Palm Beach Post]
In what is traditionally one of the slowest times for tourism, hotel stays jumped during the month of November as the eyes of the nation turned to Palm Beach County for the Lynn University-hosted presidential debate.
› Public responds to call for Toys for Tots donations [Tampa Bay Times]
Susan Bailey hates the thought of some children not getting gifts on Christmas. So when the 70-year-old grandmother of five learned that Toys for Tots hasn't collected enough toys to meet the needs, she decided to write a check for $200. "I know the heartache of Christmas and how hard it can be,'' said Bailey of Tampa, who raised three kids as a single mom.
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› World tourism hits record 1 billion travelers this year [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Never before has tourism been so large on a world scale: International tourism now accounts for one in every 12 jobs, 30 percent of the world’s services exports and about 9 percent of the world’s economy.
› Big CEOs: Bending now on taxes may revitalize economy ahead [Tampa Bay Times]
A prominent business lobby representing CEOs of the nation's biggest corporations urged Congress and the White House to consider raising taxes to avert the fiscal cliff looming in just 18 days. Many of those Fortune 500 CEOs run companies, from Duke Energy and Wal-Mart to Bank of America and Humana, that employ a sizable chunk of Florida's 8 million-plus workforce.
› Club cocktails in the sky [Miami Herald]
Airlines have found a way to take the edge off the stress of flying and make a few extra bucks along the way: fancy new cocktails, craft beers and elegant wines.
› Florida federal judge refuses injunction to block PIP reform [Tampa Bay Business Journal]
A federal judge declined to issue an injunction to delay the implementation of Florida’s personal injury protection insurance reform.