Florida's housing market ended 2013 with higher home sales and higher median prices compared to the year before, according to Florida Realtors. However, going forward the Florida housing market faces obstacles that could impede a stronger recovery, such as limited inventories of homes for sale, overly-restrictive mortgage credit, increasing interest rates and flood insurance costs, the report states. More at WPC and the Orlando Business Journal.
The number of solar jobs in Florida grew 60 percent in 2013, raising the state's nationwide rank from 12th to 7th, according to a study released Tuesday. Florida now employs 4,000 solar workers, though the state has struggled to keep pace with other states in the number of solar installations. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The Florida Chamber of Commerce released its 2014 legislative agenda Tuesday, calling for changes to the state legal system, elimination of a tax break for Internet merchants and no expansion of casino-style gambling. The state's highest-profile business lobby claimed that Florida has the potential to add 198,000 jobs in 2014 if the state continues to nurture a business-friendly environment [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Leah Sokolowsky, the current president of Film Florida, says that states with funded incentives are seeing an increase in their workforce. Florida, though, where all the incentives have been accounted for, is seeing a flat or slight decrease in the number of workers in the film industry. [Source: Orlando Business Journal]
In exactly four weeks, voters will choose their next member of Congress in Florida's 13th district. And around the country, the political world will be watching with a very close eye. The race is shaping up as a harbinger of the midterms and is increasingly seen as a must-win opportunity for both parties. [Source: Washington Post]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Drive to legalize medical marijuana has cost millions [CBS Miami]
The legalization of medical marijuana will go before Florida voters this year, but for its backers, getting to this point has come with a heavy cost. People United for Medical Marijuana reported Monday that it had spent roughly $4.6 million through the end of January.
› World affairs conference returns to St. Petersburg [Tampa Bay Times]
Former CIA officials, ambassadors and war commanders are descending on St. Petersburg this week for a second-annual summit on international affairs.
› NASA Explores 3D Printing: 5 Cool Projects [Information Week]
What if there were a more efficient -- and less expensive -- way to develop tools and science instruments for space missions? NASA may have found the answer with 3D printing. The agency has introduced a number of programs focused on prototyping tools using this manufacturing technique.
› Startup mentors launch crowdfunding campaign [Orlando Sentinel]
Founders of the Starter Studio in Orlando unveiled a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday to attract sponsors and raise money for its tech-business mentoring program. The non-profit initiative set a goal to raise $10,000 over the next 30 days through kickstarter.com.
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› Shifting nursing home residents into Medicaid Managed Care [Kaiser Health News]
States had traditionally been reluctant to place frail and elderly people into managed care. But that caution is fading as officials become comfortable with managed care and more anxious to curb Medicaid spending.
› Tallahassee arts funding structure under fire [Tallahassee Democrat]
Tallahassee’s clearinghouse for culture and arts may be fighting to stay alive, despite the Cultural Plan Review Committee’s final report calling for strengthening the agency’s reach.
› Software firm paid millions in incentives for job creation lays off hundreds [Tampa Bay Times]
A real estate software company paid millions in state incentives to create jobs is laying off up to 744 workers statewide. Digital Risk disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it is laying off up to 251 workers in two locations in its Maitland headquarters, along with 30 workers in Boca Raton, 148 in Jacksonville, and 315 in Lake Mary.
› Harris names Lopez its SVP and CFO [Florida Today]
The Melbourne-based communications company has named Miguel “Mick” Lopez senior vice president and chief financial officer, reporting to Harris President and Chief Executive Officer William M. Brown.