Gov. Rick Scott this week will send the Legislature a proposed budget that's a blueprint for spending and a road map to his re-election campaign — complete with potholes. For the first time in three years, a slow but steady economic recovery means Scott will have more tax money to spend, not less. [Source: Times/Herald]
A recent study by The Tauri Group on the still-nascent suborbital space industry projected $600 million worth of demand in the next 10 years, saying individuals eager for an out-of-this-world experience would be the primary buyers. Governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations were expected to make up the rest. [Source: Florida Today]
Related, from Florida Trend
» Video Interview: Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida
DiBello spoke about Space Florida's role in the state's economy and about the future of space exploration and tourism. One quote: "You'll see a growing economy that is in low-Earth orbit, with people going for adventure tourism."
One of the most celebrated acts of environmental protection in Florida is the state's work in recent decades to buy millions of acres forests, wetlands and prairies and protect them from commercial and residential development. But a tiny portion of that gigantic ownership turned out to have little importance for conservation and could soon be sought after as commercial, mining and even airport property. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
The retail business has roared back to life in Florida, recovering faster than almost any other industry and providing jobs to thousands. But the trend also points to a problem with Florida's post-recession economy: Three years into the recovery, Florida has become more dependent on the lowest-paying jobs. [Source: Tampa Tribune]
License plates from Canada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere are jamming streets, restaurants are abandoning their reservation lists, and vacation rentals are filling to capacity. High tourism season is here, and early signs point to a strong one. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Forbes names Florida company as "America's Most Promising Company" [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
3Cinteractive, a Boca Raton-based company that helps its clients engage with consumers via mobile platforms, was chosen by Forbes as "America's Most Promising Company," topping a list of 100 companies from around the country.
› 'Orlando 2.0' leaders want more entertainment, shopping downtown [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando 2.0, as it's being called, includes a small group of relatively young entrepreneurs and professionals. Their goal: Transform downtown from an after-dark scene for partiers, parking tickets and panhandlers into a place for shopping, dining, higher education and entertainment.
› Naples Winter Wine Festival raises $8.5 million for Collier children's charities [Naples Daily News]
It wasn't a record year for the Naples Winter Wine Festival. But it might as well have been in the eyes of 2013 event Chairman Bob Edwards.
» A Tour of Florida's Winter Wine Festivals
› Broward encourages solar energy with easier permits [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Making energy from the sun seems a no-brainer for the Sunshine State, but cost has proven to be a hurdle. Broward County has taken a big step to cut costs for solar-panel systems on rooftops and homeowners, businesses and other counties are taking notice.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Cuban comrade now a house-flipping capitalist savant [Miami Herald]
High-level defector Pedro Alvarez Borrego has become a house flipper extraordinaire. Some question the source of his stake money.
› Brevard hoteliers yank welcome mat on flu bug [Florida Today]
With guests coming in from all over the world, it’s hard to blame Brevard County hoteliers and other lodging operators for being just a tad overprepared when it comes to preventing the flu.
› Early risers line up in Sarasota for Orioles tickets [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The first people arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium box office at 5 a.m. Saturday, waiting five hours to buy the tickets of their choice to Baltimore Orioles spring training games.
› Taxpayers have $7M invested in St. Petersburg's Midtown plaza [Tampa Bay Times]
Residents should think of the Sweetbay Supermarket in Midtown as more than a grocery store. The city invested more than $7 million in public money to bring the grocer to the economically depressed neighborhood.