Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Regional banks BB&T, SunTrust join to create $66 billion operator
Southern regional banks BB&T and SunTrust are combining in an all-stock deal to create a new bank valued at about $66 billion. The banks said Thursday that the combined company will be the sixth-largest U.S. bank based on assets and deposits. More from the Miami Herald and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Is Mastercard avoiding Florida taxes?
Half a century ago, when most states began to tax corporate profits, it was much easier to figure out who sold what to whom — and where. Most companies built and sold physical products, and the businesses that sold services were usually in the same state as their customers. To determine how much of a business’s service sales should be allocated to Florida, tax authorities here (and in many other states) long ago adopted what’s called the “cost of performance rule.” [Source: Florida Trend]
Trump vowed to ‘defeat AIDS’ in his State of the Union. Florida is ground zero.
The Department of Health and Human Services has identified 48 counties where about half of all new cases of HIV in the country were reported. Seven of those counties are in Florida, more than any other state except California. The counties are: Pinellas, Hillsborough, Orange, Duval, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
New Florida 'Cannabis Czar' sees potential in hemp
Saying hemp is poised to be a “multibillion-dollar industry in the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday appointed the state’s first cannabis czar. Fried, a Democrat elected in November who made increasing access to medical marijuana one of the cornerstones of her campaign, tapped Holly Bell, a former banker, to serve as director of cannabis. More from the Orlando Sentinel, the AP, and WFLA.
Key West bans the sale of sunscreens that hurt coral reefs in the Keys
One of the world’s sunniest spots just took a stand on two sunscreen chemicals that scientists have said are hurting the coral reef ecosystem in the Florida Keys. The ban represents an effort to protect the only living coral reef in North America. Researchers have documented how the chemicals have been harming the reef, leading to bleaching, DNA damage and death of the corals. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› How Tampa’s James Cordier went from high roller to YouTube apology after losing $150 million
James Cordier seemed a man on top of his game. He was viewed as such an expert at trading options — the right to buy or sell commodities at a certain price — that thousands of investors bought his books and watched him on TV.
› Hoffmann family buys local businesses, creates new marketing company
The Hoffmann family has snatched up two more local businesses as it continues to expand its presence in Naples. The family, through its private office Osprey Capital LLC, has purchased Merdeli Marketing and Erik Kellar Photography, melding them together to launch a new company — the Hoffmann Creative Agency.
› SpaceX targeting March launch of Crew Dragon test flight from KSC
SpaceX and NASA are now targeting a March 2 launch from Kennedy Space Center of a test flight that could set the stage for astronauts to fly this summer. The two-week demonstration flight of the Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, with no crew on board, had been targeted for January and then February prior to the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended Jan. 25.
› She works hard for no money. That’s why this attorney will get Florida top honor.
A Miami bankruptcy attorney will receive the Florida Bar’s highest pro bono work honor, the 2019 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, from Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady at Thursday’s pro bono service awards ceremony.
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