FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Why Florida business wants Medicaid expansion

Florida’s business community, a bastion of conservatism on most matters, was among those pushing hardest for a state measure that would have adopted a major part of President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. What made the situation unusual was that business wasn’t getting its usual way. State lawmakers adjourned last month without agreeing on a proposal that would extend Medicaid coverage to low-income residents without adequate health care, even with the backing of Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce as well from Gov. Rick Scott. The business leaders will have to wait until next year to try again. Businesses have a big stake in the outcome. [Read more from Bloomberg]

Florida Trend Special Report
Business portrait of Tallahassee

» Read the report about the economic life and the quality of life in Tallahassee [Photo: Ray Stanyard]

To paint a portrait of Tallahassee -- Florida's capital city -- Florida Trend looked behind the scenes to report on how this city of nearly 200,000 residents is reinventing itself. We look at how the city's key business assets -- education, health care, technology, government and tourism -- have helped attract an array of industries over the past decade. [Go to special report]

» Archive: Business and community portraits from Florida Trend

Column: If Amazon's online grocery service lands here, supermarkets may revive home delivery

Online retailing juggernaut Amazon plans to expand its food delivery service called AmazonFresh to as many as 40 major markets within the next few years. Amazon wants to find new, large markets to enter as the company tries to maintain a growth rate that has fueled a 220 percent surge in its shares over the past five years. However, online grocery services have been tried for many years by many companies and business startups with little lasting success. Have times changed enough to work this time? Will Amazon's tech prowess make the difference? [The Tampa Bay Times raises these questions]

Digital Risk seeking land to build larger campus

Just a year after moving in, mortgage-risk assessment firm Digital Risk is already out of room at its Boca Raton office. Digital Risk, which brought the largest number of jobs to Florida during 2012, is a recipient of economic incentives from the state, including the Quick Response Training program, a grant program that provides college and other training for new and expanding businesses hiring workers. The company is well ahead of its commitment to the state to bring 1,000 jobs to Florida through 2017, creating nearly 2,000 jobs across Florida already. [Source: Sun-Sentinel]

Scott signs mortgage relief bill, but will banks comply?

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will distribute $200 million in mortgage relief and vowed the new law would hold banks accountable so homeowners are better shielded from foreclosure abuses. “Banks will now be held accountable and Florida families will be protected with new protections for homeowners,’” Scott said. Yet questions are emerging about whether the banks who signed the deal are complying with the agreement, the latest setback in a relief package already delayed by months of negotiations. “I’ve had issues with the banks,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. [Read more from the Times-Herald]

» Florida homeowners to get foreclosure restitution checks of $1,480 this month


› Universal's Potter bump leveling off after spectacular increases
Attendance at Islands of Adventure — which added the $265 million Wizarding World in 2010 — grew 4 percent in 2012 to nearly 8 million visitors, compared with gains of 30.2 percent in 2010 and 29 percent in 2011.

› Ex Miami-Dade County employees arrested in overbilling scheme
Authorities say they bilked taxpayers to the tune of $3 million over a decade, allowing county contracts to swell to ridiculous dollar amounts - all while accepting paper bags stuffed with cash from a New York tech company.

› Big spending planned for Palm Beach County beaches
Thanks in part to $15 million in federal money, dredges will pump tons of sand to boost shores from Jupiter to Boca Raton starting in November.

› Alarion Bank's Alachua County president steps down
Bob Page has left Alarion Bank as its Alachua County president, citing philosophical differences with the board. Page will remain a consultant with the 10-branch bank and said he will continue to send business its way.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› FAU plans to give raises, add faculty
Florida Atlantic University plans to give employees raises, hire more faculty and invest in biotech at its Jupiter campus as part of $21 million in increased state money. The funding comes after the Legislature this spring restored $300 million in cuts made last year to state universities.

Florida Trend's
Viva Florida 500 Travel Guide

There's much to see and do as Florida commemorates the 500-year anniversary of Ponce de León arriving on its eastern shore.

The statewide festivities planned to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida — Viva Florida 500 — invite residents and visitors alike to launch their own explorations.

Viva Florida 500

Map out a Florida adventure - start here!

› Ross Realty, RMC Property Group merge
Two well-known real estate companies, The Ross Realty Group of Clearwater and RMC Property Group of Tampa, have combined operations. Executives of both companies refer to it as a merger, but RMC will be the parent company. Recently, real estate industry gossip has suggested that Elliott Ross, president of Ross Realty, was looking to sell his firm and retire.

› Rick Scott vetoes immigrant driver license bill
Gov. Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to get temporary Florida driver's licenses, a decision that may bolster his standing among immigration hard-liners but could hurt him among Hispanic voters.

› AutoNation reports 11 percent gain in May new vehicle sales
Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation said sales were driven partly by trucks, up 27 percent from a year ago. Truck sales are soaring because of gains in construction, oil and gas and other heavy industries, as the U.S. economic recovery picks up speed, analysts say.