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Friday's Daily Pulse

Florida lawmakers have money to spend or give back

Florida legislators this year aren't worrying about budget cuts or how to balance the state budget. Instead the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature will spend the next nine weeks trying to figure out how to spend an expected budget surplus of more than $1 billion. [Source: AP]

Skills test for jobless may be eliminated

The controversial "initial skills review" required for unemployment benefits would be eliminated under legislation to be considered Monday. South Florida groups representing the unemployed have criticized the requirement, saying the unemployed are disqualified for benefits if they don't take the skills review soon enough. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

In South Florida, 26.7 percent of mortgages under water

The strong rebound in home prices in the metro Miami area is showing up in a reduction in the number of mortgages underwater. But the region has a long way to go to recover from the crash. Negative equity in the metro Miami region — which comprises Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties —fell to 26.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 39.6 percent a year earlier. [Source: Miami Herald]

U.S. citrus industry feuds with South Korea

Florida citrus growers, alarmed about South Korea squeezing their business, are pushing U.S. officials to settle a tariff dispute they say is costing them millions of dollars in sales. The fight, which began last year, comes while the industry is struggling with a devastating plant disease called citrus greening. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Studies Find Textbooks Are A Poor Match For Common Standards

school districts across the state that have yet to do so will soon need to make big curriculum decisions. But there’s a problem — researchers are finding many textbooks and classroom materials aren’t a perfect match for Common Core. [Source: StateImpact Florida]

Central Florida Research Park
University Research Parks in Florida
Economic commentary from Florida TaxWatch


› Sarasota impresses touring pentathlon officials
International and national officials with the governing bodies behind the sport of Modern Pentathlon spent part of the past week touring Southwest Florida venues and said they were impressed with the region.

› Orlando to land 200 new engineering jobs in Lockheed simulation move
Lockheed Martin Corp. plans to add 200 high-paying engineering jobs at its Orlando simulation-and-training unit — the company's largest increase in its Central Florida work force in at least a decade, Lockheed officials said this week.

› Florida food chain imposes Obamacare price hike
A restaurant chain in Florida is now forcing customers to pay a little extra because of the new health care reform law. At least eight Gator’s Dockside restaurants in central Florida are now charging patrons a one-percent Affordable Care Act surcharge for their meals.

› UCF film students will take on the ocean
Jacob Sadowsky and Robert Owen are film students at UCF trying to do something that even experts don't often do: Make a movie on the open ocean.

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› Mr. Chisholm goes to Washington
In his first-ever trip to the White House, St. Vincent’s HealthCare CEO Moody Chisholm went there earlier this week to talk about Medicaid expansion.

› Swire's Miami tower planned to top 1,000 feet
Swire Properties wants to build a mixed-use tower on Brickell Avenue that would reach up to 1,049 feet. The tower would be tied to the upcoming Brickell City Centre complex now under construction.

› Blue Jays no longer eyeing Florida’s east coast
Toronto Blue Jays officials have told Palm Beach County officials the team has decided to keep its spring training home in Dunedin.

› UF poll reveals support for state Medicaid expansion, changes to Affordable Care Act
A poll of registered voters in Florida on upcoming state legislative issues by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service in collaboration with the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research found that 67 percent of respondents support expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.