Five years ago this month, the Great Recession began. Which leads to this question: How much longer until Florida can erase the damage? Officially, the recession ended in June 2009. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the national economy began contracting in December 2007 and did not grow again for 19 months. Using taxable sales figures, it’s probably safe to say Florida experienced a longer downturn. [Source: Miami Herald]
Bruce Barcelo is well known in Florida political circles, having worked on the campaigns of everyone from former Jacksonville Mayors Ed Austin and John Delaney to the late U.S. Rep. Tillie Fowler and state Sen. John Thrasher. But after decades of toiling in the Sunshine State’s political trenches, the Jacksonville pollster is gaining renown more than 6,000 miles away in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Full story...
While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax cuts scheduled to expire next year, a big package of tax breaks already expired this year. The Washington Post outlined some of the biggest, along with the cost to retroactively extend each one for 2012 and 2013.
Just as Central Florida's new-home market prepares to finish its strongest year since the housing slump, prices for drywall, cement and lumber are fast outpacing inflation. At a time when inflation is running about 2 percent, lumber prices throughout the country are up 35 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Telemundo has long been like a remote Caribbean island, cut off from its sprawling media homeland. NBCUniversal acquired the Spanish-language television network a decade ago for $2 billion but became discouraged by its seemingly limited prospects. But Comcast Corp.’s takeover of NBCUniversal last year may be building Telemundo a bridge to the mainland. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Miami in spotlight at AVCC, other entrepreneurship events [Miami Herald]
Entrepreneurs and investors shared advice, made connections and talked about deals at the Americas Venture Capital Conference and other Innovate MIA events.
› Florida rivers getting sicker, investigation finds [Orlando Sentinel]
Florida's rivers are in trouble. That's what the Orlando Sentinelfound after a yearlong evaluation of some of the state's biggest and smallest, most urban and remote, cleanest and dirtiest, protected and abused rivers.
› Thrift shops, dollar stores are cleaning up this Christmas [Orlando Sentinel]
Business is strong this holiday season at thrift stores, pawnshops, flea markets and dollar stores. Many Americans began shopping more often at deep discounters during the Great Recession, and even though the economy has improved somewhat, they're still coming back.
› Slaughter, neglect still threaten South Florida horses [Orlando Sentinel]
The horses that make it here have reached a safe corner in a dangerous network of negligent owners, kill buyers and butchers who prey on unwanted animals. Here, at a woodland rescue ranch in central Palm Beach County, each one is considered a horse — not a burden, not meat.
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› Legal group challenges manatee's endangered status [AP]
A conservative legal group and some north Florida business owners are asking the federal government to strip the manatee of its endangered species status. Federal officials say they're considering doing just that, though relisting the manatee as only a threatened species would not change any of the restrictions the business owners oppose.
› Column: Looming 'fiscal cliff' may devastate space program [Florida Today]
The civilian space exploration program is facing the same threat of looming budget cuts as most programs outside national defense and entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.
› South Florida’s Super Bowl team divided over boat show [Miami Herald]
South Florida risks fielding a divided team for the 50th Super Bowl if it can’t resolve a conflict with the Miami International Boat Show. Long a hassle for Super Bowl organizers, the boat show issue now seems to be something of a dividing line among local leaders charged with pursuing the country’s largest sporting event.
› What tone will next CentCom leader set for civilian-military alliances? [Tampa Bay Times]
Four-star Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the president's pick to run U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, may not take over for months. His appointment awaits Senate approval. But in the civilian world, minds are busy.