Florida's consumer confidence level dipped slightly in April, remaining considerably lower than the national gauge, according to a University of Florida survey released Tuesday. “As we expected, the overall consumer sentiment index is remaining relatively flat given the lack of significant economic news,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times or read the report from UF News.
» U.S. consumer confidence near six-year high
Women are starting small businesses in Florida at a rate faster than the national average. The state has seen a 74% increase in the number of women-owned small businesses in the past 15 years, ranking Florida as the sixth fastest-growing state for women-owned businesses. [Source: Florida Small Business]
Unlike previous years, when lawmakers struggled to plug deficits, this year's budget is awash in cash. Now, in the final week of the session, lawmakers have about $1.2 billion in surplus, bonus money that can go pretty much anywhere they choose. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
For the next few days, a team from Florida’s National Guard is in Grenada providing leadership training for the defense and security forces on the island. Just last month, several island nations sent nine leaders to Starke, the town in Florida best known for prisoner executions, to observe an urban search-and-rescue training exercise so that they would better prepared if buildings were to collapse in a disaster. [Source: Miami Herald]
Builders and sellers must alert buyers if they plan to keep the mineral rights beneath Florida homes, under legislation passed by state lawmakers and now awaiting the governor's approval. The disclosure would address complaints from home buyers who said they were never told that the rights to all oil, gas, phosphates and minerals underneath their home had already been handed over. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Bill to create socially responsible companies on Gov. Scott’s desk [Orlando Business Journal]
A bill designed to make it easier to create socially responsible companies has cleared the Florida Legislature and is on the way to the governor’s office. The bill — SB 654 — would allow for the creation of two new kinds of companies — social purpose corporations and benefit corporations.
› With snowbirds' departure, commutes ease [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Even if you’re the most fervid star-spangled boosterish proponent of local tourism, you can’t deny this — the drive to work sure feels better without all the snowbirds.
› Orlando going to court to take church land for MLS soccer stadium [Orlando Sentinel]
Negotiators at Orlando City Hall and a church that stands in the way of a new Major League Soccer stadium remain far apart on a selling price and appear headed to court. City officials have been trying for more than a year to acquire the land where tiny Faith Deliverance Temple sits.
› Trader Joe's opening in Fort Lauderdale in 2015 [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The store is part of a major move into South Florida for the popular grocer. The area's first store opened last fall in the Pinecrest neighborhood of Miami-Dade County, but six more are planned in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
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› Port Canaveral casino cruise line will build second ship [Orlando Sentinel]
Port Canaveral-based Victory Casino Cruises announced the company is preparing to launch a second ship in Jacksonville, with the goal of opening by June. The company said it has more than 1,000 customers daily on its ship, the Victory I, but it noticed many customers were coming from northern Florida or Georgia.
› How MBA Orlando's deal may make Central Florida a top gay wedding destination [Orlando Business Journal]
The Wedding Alliance — an Orlando organization that raises awareness on marriage equality — is partnering with MBA Orlando to better notify local businesses about the $150 million economic impact waiting to hit Central Florida if same-sex marriage is approved.
› Miami’s tech community is on display at eMerge Americas Techweek [Miami Herald]
This week’s eMerge Americas Techweek is designed to promote the region’s tech community and convince companies that Miami is the place to grow their businesses. Some are already getting the message.
› Norwegian reports $52 million first-quarter profit [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The addition of a new ship to its fleet as well as higher ticket prices and improved onboard spending helped to boost earnings in the first quarter, Norwegian Cruise Line said Tuesday.