Nearly six of 10 small-business leaders in Florida are bullish about their company's prospects in the next six months, according to a new survey by American Express. Florida's small-business owners tend to be more upbeat than their counterparts in other parts of the South, the survey, the 2014 Small Business Monitor, found. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald.
The Florida Cannabis Coalition is a Tampa-based consulting group aimed at educating entrepreneurs interested in the medical marijuana industry. Opportunities are not limited to growers and dispensaries, either. Marijuana-related industries include clothing lines, solar panel installation, irrigation and more. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Fine dining is continuing its recovery from the economic downturn. Visits to higher-end U.S. restaurants increased 5 percent last year to 851.2 million, according to data released this month by NPD Group. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida legislators have a reached a deal over most of the spending that will be included in a new $75 billion state budget. House and Senate budget chiefs met shortly before midnight Sunday. Part of the deal includes a 2.6 percent boost in spending on public school students. [Source: Miami Herald]
Immigrant advocates are asking Florida Gov. Rick Scott to employ more political muscle to convince state lawmakers to pass a bill allowing thousands of youths living in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition for the state's colleges. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Hospitals to get boost from FAU program [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Three South Florida hospitals for the first time will get dozens of new doctors in training, as Florida Atlantic University debuts its new physician residency program. The 36 recent medical school graduates are expected to help ease a resident shortage and an anticipated physician shortage in the coming years.
› SunRail ready for debut in Central Florida [WKMG]
The wait is almost over for the highly anticipated SunRail commuter train as service begins Thursday in Central Florida. Crews are putting the final touches on each of stations, but some still have a little work to do ahead of the grand debut.
› Insurer limits customers in South Florida [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A second insurance company is limiting its exposure to South Florida properties with the hurricane season to begin in just five weeks. St. Petersburg-based Heritage Insurance is not writing new homeowners policies in eight ZIP codes in Broward and two in Palm Beach County.
› Derby Lane: Love for a dying sport [Tampa Bay Times]
Not a single Florida parimutuel posted an operating profit from dog racing in its most recent state financial filing. The sport's demise in Florida appears inevitable.
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› Orlando Health reports third growth quarter in a row [Orlando Sentinel]
Non-profit hospital chain Orlando Health reported its third positive financial quarter in a row on Friday, for the period ending March 31. Growth in income follows a rough mid-year in 2013 that saw cutbacks including pay cuts.
› Jacksonville University business school developing global reach into commerce [Florida Times-Union]
There’s a lot of talk lately about Jacksonville being a bigger player in the world of international business. It’s more than just talk.
› eMerge conference aims to jump-start local tech hub [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A movement to make South Florida a technology hub for the Americas kicks off its first conference this week, aiming to draw more than 3,000 people from entrepreneurs to investors to students — from Broward and Palm Beach counties and from around the world.
› End of session immigration feud reflects GOP divide [Times/Herald]
Florida’s two Republican presiding officers not only represent the Legislature’s two chambers, they are a reflection of the generational and ideological differences that make up today’s Republican Party. As legislators enter the final week of the session, those differences will be manifest in the debate over the most divisive issue this session.