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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Reform will be costly for property owners

Property insurance rates across the state could shoot up much faster beginning next year under a massive new proposal being drafted in the Florida Legislature. The proposal, released in draft form Wednesday, shows that lawmakers' attempts to reform Citizens Property Insurance could have costly repercussions for millions of property owners. [Source: Times/Herald]

PBS Contractors
Bart Zino, left, company president of PBS Contractors, with Russell Budd, founder and CEO. » Go to business profile

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Customer service: The extra mile

During the worst of the economic downturn, residential builder and remodeler PBS Contractors cut its workforce from 35 to 10. Bart Zino, the company’s president, knew PBS would have to somehow differentiate itself from competitors in order to survive. His idea: “Concierge” customer service — going beyond showing up for appointments and finishing projects on time and within budget. Full story.

Businesses say health insurance is key to keeping top employees

Tampa Electric's Brad Register is no cheerleader for the Affordable Care Act. But drop employees' health coverage and simply pay a penalty, as some businesses have threatened? That seems a recipe for losing highly skilled employees who'd take a job with benefits somewhere else, said Register. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Taxes on California millionaires may make Florida more attractive

It is getting awfully expensive to be a millionaire in California. With the new year, big earners are confronting a 51.9 percent federal-state income tax hit on earnings over $1 million, the result of a confluence of new tax-the-rich levies imposed by California and Congress in the closing days of 2012. That is officially the highest in the nation. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the New York Times.

Marco Rubio will deliver the GOP response to the State Of The Union

Sen. Marco Rubio, a leading proponent of overhauling the immigration system who has gained attention in GOP circles, will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the selection of Rubio on Wednesday, calling him a strong advocate of conservative principles. [Source: AP]


› Miami Chamber: raise hotel taxes to fund Sun Life renovation
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce wants to increase hotel taxes to help pay for a $400 million renovation at Sun Life Stadium. The business group’s board on Wednesday endorsed the Miami Dolphins’ financing plan for their home stadium, saying the upgrade will be good for the county’s economy.

› Siemens chooses Orlando for wind-turbine training center
Orlando was competing with an existing Siemens training center in Houston to land the new operation, where a staff of 50 will host as many as 100 wind-turbine workers each week.

› Greenberg Traurig shuffles leadership
Law firm Greenberg Traurig on Tuesday announced a new management lineup that includes naming Hilarie Bass as the first female president in the firm’s history.

› In Flagler, jobs crashed with housing collapse
To understand Flagler County's unemployment problem, drive through the gates of Grand Landings, a sprawling, would-be subdivision just west of Interstate 95. Launched almost six years ago, it's a landscape of empty lots and lost opportunity: a surreal work in progress where you'll find almost no workers.

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› Star Wars “Force” Drives Disney Shares to All-Time High
Can Disney breath life back into Star Wars? The Reformed Broker Josh Brown says yes. "Everything Bob Iger has done has worked," Brown tells me in the attached video. Pointing to the stock price, he not only gives Disney's CEO the benefit of the doubt, he all but goes fan-boy.

› Palm Beach Gardens city council to vote on tax exemptions for businesses
Giving the council the power to grant tax exemptions to new and existing businesses, approved by city voters in November, is up for initial approval at Thursday’s 7 p.m. city council meeting at city hall.

› Miami U.S. attorney issues warning and crackdown on ID theft, tax-refund fraud
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer issued a warning about ID theft and tax-refund fraud amid a crackdown on the multibillion-dollar crime spreading across South Florida.

› Villages residents stung by rising golf-cart insurance premiums
Many in the community of 100,000 northwest of Orlando drive traditional golf carts that top out at 20 mph and don't have to be registered or insured, but that doesn't apply to a growing number that can go faster, up to 25 mph.