FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Thursday's Daily Pulse

Small businesses rev up hiring after months of uncertainty

Small business owners want to add staffers, and many are hiring, but they're taking their time before they commit to a new employee. Their caution helps explain the slow but steady growth in jobs nationwide. Companies of all sizes have added an average of 163,000 jobs a month since March, according to the Labor Department. [Source: AP]

Allison Tant
"I expect there will be a robust primary." — Allison Tant, chairwoman, Florida Democratic Party » Story here

Florida Trend Exclusive
Tallahassee Trend: High hopes for Allison Tant

When popular Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker made a swing through south Florida last March to raise money for his presumed 2014 Senate bid, Allison Tant made sure to snag him for a few hours to help out local Democrats. Her main mission, she says, is to put the Democratic Party on strong enough financial footing so the party’s nominee can challenge Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. Full story...

Report: Small businesses over the economic hump

Florida's small businesses may be over the economic hump and healthy again, according to a TD Bank report released Tuesday. TD Bank economists say more small businesses are seeking credit -- 5.6 percent more than in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating that small companies are leading the way in the economic recovery. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Space jobs grant is extended

Out-of-work aerospace contractors will have another year to seek help transitioning to new careers thanks to the extension of a federal grant that was set to expire this week. Brevard Workforce received confirmation from the U.S. Department of Labor that the $15 million “national emergency grant” would continue for a fourth year, through June 14, 2014. [Source: Florida Today]

Florida lawmakers split on NSA surveillance controversy

As questions continue to mount over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, Florida lawmakers are splitting between those who defend the programs as necessary and those worried about an invasion of privacy. The mixed reaction reflects public opinion and the overall response on Capitol Hill. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› SEC sues former head of Miami brokerage firm
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that it filed suit against Ernesto Lujan, the former head of the Miami office at brokerage firm Direct Access Partners, for his role in a massive kickback scheme to secure the bond trading business of a state-owned Venezuelan bank.

› Offshore tax strategies may have fewer individual takers
Orlando lawyer Scott G. Miller says he used to field lots of calls from rich doctors and business owners who wanted to know how to fend off taxes and protect their assets from creditors by placing at least some of their money in an offshore account. These days not so much.

› Eckler plans to build international HQ in Titusville
Eckler Industries Inc., a provider of restoration parts and accessories for specialty automobiles, formally announced plans to build its international headquarters in Titusville.

› Miami-Dade looks to CNG bus fleet
Compressed natural gas might help motorists and government alike save significantly on transit expenses — and perhaps even significantly reduce harmful emissions.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Hoop schemes: The betting action beyond the NBA Finals action
San Antonio residents and relatives of Spurs players aren't the only ones rooting against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals: Las Vegas bookies are pulling hard for a Heat loss, too. Longtime Vegas oddsmaker Johnny Avello explained his antipathy toward the Heat isn't personal. It's strictly business.

› VA pulls grant funds for homeless vet project
The Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen to terminate a multimillion-dollar grant awarded to the Alachua County Housing Authority in 2008 for the establishment of a homeless veterans housing project.

› Florida permanently waives license to harvest lionfish
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission adopted changes that will waive the recreational license requirement for divers harvesting lionfish using certain gear and exclude lionfish from the commercial and recreational bag limits, allowing people to take as many of the invasive fish as they can.

› Miami-Dade mining for gold rock at airport
The Miami-Dade Aviation Department is set to take off on a rock mining venture with the state at a former county airport site, but it's planning to alter the flight plan that's been on the runway since 2007.