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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida vulnerable to energy price spikes

Florida's overwhelming dependence on imported fuel for electricity and transportation makes the state vulnerable to spikes in prices and should lead to a renewed emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation, researchers and environmentalists told a House committee Wednesday. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Lawmakers challenge Rick Scott's economic incentives claims

Florida lawmakers are pressing Gov. Rick Scott's job-creation team to cough up more details about the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-incentives it awards to companies every year. Scott's team, led by Enterprise Florida chief executive Gray Swoope, told House and Senate economic-development budget committees Wednesday that its tax incentives have helped lead to economic growth. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

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Ask a Business Expert: Play by the rules with business names

The primary focus in all Florida business name statutes is to ensure the public knows the legal identity of those in control of a business. Under Florida law, it is a second-degree misdemeanor to do business in the state in any name “other than the person’s legal name” or the registered name of the entity. [Source: Florida Today]

New Florida education chief setting top priorities

Florida's new education commissioner says his top priorities are implementing Common Core State Standards and a new teacher merit pay and tenure law. Tony Bennett outlined his agenda Wednesday during an appearance before the Senate Education Committee. [Source: AP]

Three steps to hiring the right person

Simply having a qualified candidate is not enough to ensure a successful fit for the job. Each position in your organization has unique requirements—for not only qualifications, but for aptitude and work styles. Hiring the wrong person can be costly in terms of time and money, as well as in customer relations, productivity and employee morale. [Source: Gainesville Business Report]


› New Olive Garden leader has lots on his plate
Dave George more than doubled the size of LongHorn Steakhouse in the nearly 10 years he ran the company. He transformed the dining rooms from cowboy kitsch to a more sophisticated look and oversaw the chain's absorption into Darden Restaurants, the world's largest casual-dining company. Now George has a new task: reinvigorating Olive Garden, which is trying to reverse two years of disappointing sales.

› Group sues to protect South Florida corals
An environmental group filed suit Wednesday to force the federal government to improve protection for two species of coral found off the southeast Florida coast.

› Magic want more time to plan entertainment complex
The development arm of the Orlando Magic has asked Orlando officials for an extension of its exclusive purchase option on a city-owned building across the street from the Amway Center. The city granted a one-year option in 2011 to give the company time to study the feasibility of building a $100 million sports-and-entertainment complex on the property.

› South Florida hospitals face huge federal, state cuts
With the federal government already slashing their funds in big and small ways, and major state cuts possible from the upcoming session of the Legislature, South Florida’s hospitals are concerned about looming financial problems.

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› Scott offers $2,500 raise for full-time public school teachers
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday proposed a $2,500 across-the-board pay raise for all full-time Florida teachers next year, a proposal that he says would cost nearly half a billion dollars. The pay raises would consume at least part, or potentially all of a tentative projected budget surplus of $437 million.
» Related: Q&A: Gov. Scott's teacher pay plan

› Web software company expands, expects more new jobs this year
Fresh from a round of new hiring, Internet software developer Pentaho Corp. of Orlando has expanded its local headquarters and expects to add more jobs this year at its operation near Orlando International Airport.

› Networking results in a job, new poll says
Most people think they will get their next job thanks to networking, according to a new poll of nearly 600 U.S. and Canadian workers by Right Management, which has its South Florida office in Fort Lauderdale.

› Scott and Cabinet approve Glades leases despite concerns
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet unanimously approved the request of two agriculture companies Wednesday to allow them to renew their leases to farm state land in exchange for swapping other parcels with the state to use for Everglades clean-up efforts.