After years of trimming budgets and pinching pennies, Florida lawmakers may have a surplus next year. A big one. A group of state economists led by Amy Baker forecast that growing sales tax revenue will give the state a surplus of $1.2 billion in the fiscal year that begins in July. Read more from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and Bloomberg News.
The Senate voted Thursday to approve bipartisan legislation that would block dramatic increases in premiums paid by some property owners under the federal flood insurance program. More from the Tampa Bay Times, USA Today and the AP.
A discovery in South Florida could lead to wider use of clean-burning fuels. Scientist Roy Periana, who heads the Scripps Energy Materials Center in Jupiter, has devised a more efficient method of converting the major components of natural gas into usable fuels. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The House has approved a $4.8 million proposal that lawmakers hope will prevent problems like the months-long headaches brought on by the rollout of Florida's $63 million jobless website. The plan unanimously adopted by the House would create the Agency for State Technology. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
The medical malpractice lawsuit damage caps that have limited big trial verdicts and kept insurance rates lower for doctors since 2003 have been tossed by the Florida Supreme Court. More from the Times/Herald and the South Florida Business Journal]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa Bay Rays first pitch of the season: High hope [Tampa Bay Times]
The Tampa Bay Rays may be fighting low game attendance, and the team's future stadium location remains fuzzy. But team executives remain optimistic that, once again, the Rays will be serious contenders in a 2014 season that kicks off in a few weeks.
› Company with $7B in sales now calls Boca Raton home [South Florida Business Journal]
After years of moving its employees south, Jarden Corp. has officially switched its headquarters to Boca Raton to give the city another major corporate player to boast about.
› Melbourne airport angles to land big deal [Florida Today]
A large aerospace company is planning an operation at Melbourne International Airport that could mean 1,800 new jobs paying an average of $100,000 a year, according to documents filed Wednesday with Brevard County.
› Florida credit unions grow [Miami Herald]
Florida’s 158 credit unions welcomed 121,000 members for 4.7 million total members in 2013, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions said Thursday.
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› Startups get 12 minutes to sway investors [Gainesville Sun]
It was a little bit like speed dating. Fourteen startup companies -- six in the biomedical sciences, and six in technology -- had 12 minutes each to tell potential investors why they should invest in their companies.
› Office Depot CEO gets $2.35 million performance bonus [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Office Depot CEO Roland Smith will receive a $2.35 million bonus this week — not a bad perk for a little over a 100 days' work restructuring the corporate staff.
› 2014 Sarasota Film Festival offers bigger selection, fewer celebrities [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
With 252 films — up 30 from last year — the 2014 Sarasota Film Festival offers local cinephiles a bigger opportunity to indulge their passion than ever before.
› JetBlue to sell off Melbourne-based LiveTV [Florida Today]
JetBlue Airways announced Thursday morning it has agreed to sell its wholly owned subsidiary, Melbourne-based LiveTV, to Thales Group for $400 million.