A number of major Internet retailers do not pay Florida’s 6 percent sales tax, an issue that has vexed Florida-based businesses and state lawmakers for years. A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week rejecting an appeal from Amazon.com that contested a New York law that requires the Internet retailer to pay sales taxes there could provide momentum for a similar measure in Florida. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Call them New Year's resolutions if you like. As 2014 approached, Florida Trend asked dozens of Floridians this question: What's something Florida could do — in 2014 — to make the state a better place to live? In this continuing series, today we look at bright ideas on the topics of:
Nearly 98 percent of Florida teachers earned a top rating, according to statewide teacher evaluation data released Tuesday, a slight increase over last last year’s results. More from StateImpact Florida and the Orlando Sentinel.
Online sales surged 20.6% compared with the same day last year. Cyber Monday capped the highest five-day online consumption period in the books, as sales boomed 16.5% over the same stretch last year. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Want to find a 10,000-square-foot office for rent within a 3-minute drive to a Starbucks in a neighborhood where the average household spends at least $5,000 on clothing gifts every year? Or how about a large warehouse that’s within 15 miles of Miami International Airport and where nearby residents tend to be high school graduates? Miami-Dade now has a free website for the job. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Restaurants change their tune on music to lure more customers [Orlando Sentinel]
Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin have crooned through the speakers of Olive Garden dining rooms for years. Lately, though, diners at the Italian chain also have been hearing Adele, David Bowie and U2. Central Florida casual-dining restaurants are undergoing musical makeovers as they try to attract more cash and customers — especially younger ones — by playing cooler tunes.
› SpaceX makes its point with Falcon 9 launch from Cape [Florida Today]
SpaceX had already proven it could launch cargo to the International Space Station. On Tuesday, the company achieved another milestone when its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket deployed its first commercial communications satellite into an orbit high above Earth.
› Plant City manufacturing firm James Hardie adding 100 jobs [Tampa Bay Times]
James Hardie, an Irish manufacturer of fiber cement siding, plans to invest $80 million in an expansion of its Plant City operations that will create 100 new jobs by 2015. The announcement caps off a particularly strong year for job creation throughout Hillsborough County.
› Sarasota-Bradenton wins Pentathlon bid [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
A last-minute drive to bring three world cup events and an Olympic qualifying event to Southwest Florida paid off this week, when it was announced that the Sarasota-Manatee area will host three modern pentathlon events starting next year.
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› Tobacco-Free Facilites can Save Companies $1,000s [Gainesville Business Report]
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and FloridaWorks’ first Company ‘Lifestyle’ Series was all about how instituting a tobacco-free facility can save companies both time and money, with presentations by Tobacco Free Alachua and Sandvik Mining.
› Abandoned loose change at airports could benefit service members [Florida Today]
The House passed a bill Tuesday that would require the Transportation Security Administration to give to non-profit groups such as the United Service Organization the approximately $500,000 in quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies collected every year at airport screening stations.
› Regulators approve nearly $5 a month hike in electric bills [Times/Herald]
Florida’s Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a $4.90 monthly increase for Florida Power & Light’s residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours, beginning in January, bringing the total bill to $100.01.
» Related: Regulators approve rate hike for Gulf Power
› Developers propose loosening Ag Reserve building limits [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
More stores, restaurants and other commercial construction could spread across farmland in Palm Beach County's Agricultural Reserve under developers' new push to ease building limits.