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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

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Florida's legislative preview

A roundup of what interest groups, lawmakers and the governor are seeking this year, including:


» Corporate Tax CutGov. Rick Scott has proposed raising the exemption on corporate income taxes from $50,000 to $75,000, a move that he says would help cut taxes for another 2,000 businesses.


» Higher EdThe Board of Governors is seeking $118 million — equivalent to a 15% tuition increase — that will be tied to performance goals for the state’s 12 public universities.


» Incentive FundingSpace Florida is requesting $10 million for its annual budget plus another $10 million dedicated for a financing fund to help attract and grow space-related businesses in the state.

» Read much more in the full Legislative Preview

Florida’s consumer confidence drops as sequestration looms

The delayed effect of the expiring payroll tax cut prompted Florida’s consumer confidence to drop one point in February to 74, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. However, consumer outlook could grow even gloomier if massive federal spending cuts required by a process known as sequestration takes place in March. [Source: UF News]

» U.S. consumer confidence rebounds in February

Biz group releases Citizens Insurance map

Hoping to convince lawmakers to make significant reforms on the politically thorny issue of property insurance, a business group has released an interactive map showing legislators how many of their constituents are covered by Citizens Property Insurance. More from the Miami Herald and AIF.

Exporters can win up to $10,000 for telling their story

If you export your goods or services around the world and have used a federal government program or assistance to get there, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Visa Inc. want to see your story. "Small businesses are key in Florida’s manufacturing and exporting, comprising 95.8 percent of the state’s exporting firms and responsible for producing 67.1 percent of the state’s total exports," said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “Businesses need to tell their story to inspire others." [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida’s $3.2 billion beer business ranks No. 4 in U.S.

We all know Floridians like to partake in a bit of beer every now and then, but the industry as a whole brings in a lot of money in the state. Florida’s beer distributors have an annual economic impact of about $3.2 billion, according to a new report from the National Beer Wholesalers Association. [Source: Jacksonville Business Journal]


› Trader Joe's in Winter Park? New retail center raises hopes for luring grocer
Winter Park commissioners have approved a retail development on the shores of Lake Killarney that will include a new home for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and a grocery site that — just maybe — could attract a Trader Joe's.

› FAU earns Florida's first special Alzheimer's center license
A Boca Raton adult day center is the first in Florida to receive a new license certifying it has advanced qualifications for Alzheimer's and dementia patient care.

› Five-star news for Miami-Dade hotels

After a long dry spell with no five-star hotels to brag about, Miami-Dade now has two. The Mandarin Oriental, Miami on Brickell Key and Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, both previous four-star winners, each earned an upgrade on the Forbes Travel Guide’s Annual Star Awards.

› Appeals court sides with St. Joe in investor case
A federal appeals court has rejected a securities-fraud lawsuit against the St. Joe Co., once Florida's largest private landowner, whose holdings shrank in value during the real-estate crash and recession.
» Related Florida Trend Content: Florida's Top 10 Private Landowners

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› Temporary ban on Fla. welfare drug testing upheld
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Tuesday ruled that a lower court was right to temporarily halt enforcement of the drug-testing program. The opinion said the state of Florida hadn't shown a "substantial special need" for such mandatory drug testing.

› Olive Garden will get new logo, more modern dining rooms
Olive Garden's revamp will include a new logo and signs, the company's president said Tuesday. Meanwhile, it will take about a year for the Italian chain owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants to move forward again with remodeling restaurants.

› South Florida leads nation in reports of identity theft
For a third year in a row, South Florida leads the nation's largest metro areas in reports of identity theft, according to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties had 35,914 reports of identity theft in 2012 -- or 645.4324 complaints per 100,000 population.

› Miami businessman who pleaded guilty to stealing millions from Medicare is sentenced to 14 years in prison
A local businessman who moved his mental health chain from Miami-Dade to North Carolina after the feds suspected him of a Medicare scam was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Monday and ordered to reimburse the taxpayer-funded program $28 million.