Record foreign investment in Florida housing the last three years is boosting property-tax revenue in areas hardest hit by the recession. In the 10 Florida counties with the largest influx of international cash since 2010, property-tax assessments are up an average 4.1% this year, state records show, nearly double the rise in the rest of Florida. Read more from Bloomberg News and the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
» The housing bust missed rents in South Florida
Two collectors of historic Florida artifacts share their interests. Also, we list other notable Florida historical collections around the state. Full story.
In all, $7.9 million in grant funding was awarded to eight groups. These grants will pay for trained "navigators" to fan out across communities – in schools, libraries, employment offices and wherever the uninsured can be found – to help people fill out forms or enroll on line. More than 3 million currently uninsured Floridians will be eligible to purchase health coverage -- often with a federal subsidy -- from an online "exchange." More from the Orlando Sentinel and the AP.
If you dine out in a big group, chances are you've had an automatic tip tacked on to your bill. That practice might soon go away. Orlando-based Darden Restaurants may drop automatic gratuities for tables of eight or more at its chains including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse. Experts predict others will follow suit. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Children from low income families in Florida have the best chance of achieving a higher income level if they grow up in Miami. A Miami child in the bottom fifth income level had a 7.4 percent chance of rising to the top fifth, the highest rate of mobility in the state. [Source: WLRN]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› MLB may intervene in Tampa Bay Rays stadium dispute [Tampa Bay Times]
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday the slow pace of stadium talks between the Tampa Bay Rays and the city of St. Petersburg may prompt him to intervene.
› St. Johns County makes where-the-jobs-are list [Florida Times-Union]
Money magazine has released its list of the top 25 places in the country where the jobs are. St. Johns County comes in at No. 5. Job growth from 2010 to 2012 was 12.1 percent, and the magazine called it “The healthiest county in Florida and leads the state in public education.”
› State higher education job requires political savvy, soft touch [Miami Herald]
The pay’s good, and the title of the job sounds nice enough — chancellor of the state university system. But Florida’s next leader in higher education will inherit a job that requires a soft touch, keen political savvy and the dexterity to manage many bosses.
› Railworkers, AFL-CIO sue over rejected SunRail bid [Orlando Sentinel]
Two unions filed a lawsuit Thursday objecting to the state's attempt to side-step an agreement from 2009 to use federally certified union signal workers in the signal construction of the $1.6 billion SunRail commuter line.
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› SunPass Now Sold In Vending Machines at Official Florida Welcome Centers [Gainesville Business Report]
SunPass electronic tolling transponders can now be purchased at the vending machines at three Official Florida Welcome Centers and an Interstate 4 rest area.
› VR Labs acknowledges delays in latest report to Lee County officials [Fort Myers News-Press]
VR Labs Inc. employs four people and has spent $4,694,548 in qualified capital investment, the company says in its annual report to Lee County on the company’s progress under the requirements of a jobs stimulus grant project.
› Dream Defenders announce plans to leave Capitol [Orlando Sentinel]
The announcement comes amid reports that the Dream Defenders protesters and other critics of Florida's "stand your ground" law don't have enough political support to call lawmakers to Tallahassee for a special session on the topic.
› Housing too costly for many travel and tourism workers [Orlando Sentinel]
The Center for Housing Policy examined salaries and housing costs in 207 metro areas across the country, paying special attention to workers in the travel and tourism industry. What they found is familiar to folks living here: Wages for many workers in that sector make in very difficult to either buy a home or rent a decent apartment.