With the unemployment rate set to fall nearer to pre-recession levels by year's end, 2014 could be the Year of the Raise — at least for some people. For millions of workers, it's about time: Real median family income has fallen 6.4% to $52,163 since peaking in 2007. [Source: USA Today]
A recent, unprecedented gathering of area chefs, farmers and food advocates has created Central Florida's first coalition for the promotion of farm-to-table cuisine and sustainable agriculture in the region. It's a move that could ultimately boost the local economy as well as Central Florida's culinary reputation. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Scott next week will roll out his proposed budget recommendations to the Florida Legislature. The Republican governor wants to save businesses $33 million by reducing fees paid when companies register with the state. [Source: AP]
Psychology or engineering? Music or nursing? Students wrestling with the hefty decision of what to study — and worried about how much money they will make once they get their degrees — can get some answers from a new website that offers detailed information about the earnings of Florida graduates. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Citizens is implementing a new application process forcing insurance agents to aggressively shop policies in the private market before placing them with the state-run insurer. Many homeowners will no longer be eligible for a new Citizens policy, and thousands of existing Citizens policyholders may eventually be forced out of the company. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Key aviation projects develop on Space Coast [Florida Today]
From large companies like Embraer Executive Jets to smaller operations like Comp Air, 2014 is shaping up to be a key year for Brevard County's aviation and aerospace sectors.
› Jacksonville, schools balk at suspension costs [AP]
Jacksonville and the Duval County public school system are facing off over who should pay for a program both agree has helped keep tens of thousands of kids off the city streets.
› Miami cabbies: Low pay, poor service [Miami Herald]
Most taxicab drivers in Miami have little economic incentive to provide better service to passengers. A few cabbies are their own bosses, pocketing all the cash they make. But most are mere chauffeurs, paying richer people for the privilege to chase down fares — without any incentive to cater to passengers.
› Florida firm explores unmanned aircraft market [Florida Times-Union]
The small remote-control helicopters hovering in a conference room took on the look of fun flight at a hobby store. But when mounted with video cameras and with further development by a Jacksonville company and others, the aircraft could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in new commerce for Florida.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› CONNECT just the latest problem at Scott's prized economic development agency [Tampa Bay Times]
As bad as the $63 million online site has been for those whose claims have been delayed for weeks, and in some cases months, CONNECT is only the latest example of the barriers blocking Florida's unemployed from collecting benefits.
› Port Everglades rail project to debut in July [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A $73 million rail project inside Port Everglades that will transfer cargo containers right off ships to trains is set to open in July.
› South Florida cities banning pet sales [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A growing number of South Florida cities are banning the commercial sale of dogs and cats in an effort to thwart puppy mills, encourage pet adoptions from shelters and keep the pet population down.
› Tallahassee to host Sustainable You Conference [The Famuan]
The city of Tallahassee and its community partners are hosting Sustainable You on Monday and Tuesday at the Florida State University Turnbull Conference Center. The theme of the conference is “Sustainability: The Power of Collaboration.”