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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Small Business Optimism Highest Since 2007

Main Street’s confidence in the economy has soared to its the highest reading since October 2007, rising from 93.4 in March to 95.2 in April, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The trade association cautioned however that the economy is still growing slower than in past recoveries. [Source: US News & World Report]

Lawmakers push changes for higher education, with mixed results

Though the Legislature declared that Florida’s community colleges cannot add any new four-year degree programs for a year, the moratorium likely won’t do much in the long run to curb the popular programs. The moratorium is one of numerous higher education measures the Legislature enacted, ranging from in-state tuition for veterans and undocumented immigrants to considering another engineering program. [Source: Times/Herald]

Lawsuit challenges Florida Governor's use of blind trust

The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to strike down a law that lets Gov. Rick Scott shield the complete disclosure of his finances. The petition asks the court to force Scott and other elected officials to file a full financial disclosure instead of relying on a blind trust authorized by a 2013 law. [Source: AP]

Hurricane hiatus: Will the USA's luck run out this year?

Small Business Basics

The ACA and You

The ACA and Small Employers

Some provisions of the health care law apply only to small employers. Although the ACA does not require that businesses provide health insurance, it does offer tax credits for eligible small businesses.

Part of Florida Small Business

With the Atlantic hurricane season starting June 1, the nation is enjoying two record streaks for a lack of hurricanes: It's been nine years since the last hit from a "major" hurricane and also nine years since a hurricane of any sort hit Florida, traditionally the most hurricane-prone state in the nation. [Source: Florida Today]

More homes are beyond reach of middle class

Rising home prices and stagnant incomes are pushing homeownership beyond the reach of middle-class Americans in more cities, a new study finds. In 20 of the 100 largest metro areas, a majority of homes on the market are not affordable for middle-income buyers. [Source: USA Today]


› Number of tourists coming to Florida keeps growing
Gov. Rick Scott will announce Thursday at Busch Gardens that a record number of tourists came to the Sunshine State during the first three months of this year. Preliminary numbers show 26.7 million tourists came to Florida during that time period.

› Veterinary lab company chooses Orlando for expansion
California-based Antech Diagnostics Inc. has selected Orlando as the home of its new regional veterinary lab for the Southeast U.S. — a move that will create 45 to 50 new jobs, company officials said this week.

› Referendum appears increasingly likely for proposed Miami soccer stadium
The longer David Beckham and his investors spend scouting publicly owned sites for a potential Major League Soccer stadium in Miami, the more it looks like the group will have to go to at least some voters for eventual approval.

› Darden may shed Red Lobster without investor input
It appears that Darden Restaurants may sell or spin off Red Lobster before investors can weigh in during a special meeting, a hedge fund trying to halt the divestiture said Wednesday.

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› Key West boat charter comes to rescue of 9 Cubans
Nine Cuban migrants who rowed to Boca Grande Key after two days in the Florida Straits and four days on the island were rescued by a Key West boat captain and his clients Monday with some help from the Coast Guard.

› All Aboard Florida, Miami to Orlando railway, picking up speed
Building a new passenger rail system in the United States is a delicate balancing act. The public’s transit needs, the cost and financing, the impact on the environment and the repercussions for the taxpayer create a complicated puzzle of challenges.

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› Tampa Bay Brewing Co. plans a second brewery restaurant
Tampa Bay Brewing Co. of Ybor City is opening a second brewery restaurant in Hillsborough County, an expansion that is expected to generate 60 jobs and quadruple the company's brewing capacity.

› Southwest Florida homes becoming less affordable
Southwest Florida housing is now less affordable than it was at the onset of the Great Recession — and experts see the problem worsening. A robust housing recovery is primarily to blame, fanned by a recent surge in investor buying and pent-up demand from retirees.