September 19, 2019

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 6/6/2019

Florida TaxWatch identifies $133 million in budget 'turkeys'

Despite a record dependence on supplemental or “sprinkle” lists by the Florida Legislature to lard the state budget with projects important to lawmakers, an independent, nonpartisan budget watchdog ranked this year’s budget process as better than others. Florida TaxWatch flagged 109 budget turkeys totaling $133 million in the $91.1 billion 2019-20 budget approved by the Florida Legislature — less than one-tenth of one percent of the entire budget. See the report from Florida TaxWatch and read more at the Tallahassee Democrat and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott back Trump’s Mexican tariffs plan

President Trump is facing some resistance from fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate to his plan to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, but Florida’s senators aren’t among them. Both Marco Rubio and Rick Scott say they don’t support tariffs in normal circumstances, but reducing the surge of immigrants at the southern border with Mexico is worth the potential economic pain imposed on Florida consumers. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Tax-free holiday for hurricane supplies ends Thursday

The time to stock up on hurricane supplies without paying sales taxes is coming to a close on Thursday. The annual sales tax “holiday” is designed to remind people to prepare for the hurricane season, which began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. “As Floridians, we know hurricanes can devastate families, homes, and entire communities,'' Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a news release Wednesday. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Plant-based products threaten Florida's dairy farmers

Dairy farmer Dale McClellan has watched milk products evolve over the years. His company, M&B Products sells cow's milk to hospitals and schools across Florida. "We sell from Leon County all the way to Dade County. We sell from Pinellas County over to Osceola County," said McClellan. But non-dairy competitors are increasingly popular. "The industry is evolving and, in my opinion, some ways for the worst. We had 350 dairy farms in the state of Florida. We're down to 79 now," said McClellan. [Source: WTVT]

South Florida workers are among the poorest-paid. The ‘Miami Discount’ may be to blame.

In the Miami area, elementary school teachers earn about $45,000 a year, working out to approximately $21 per hour — less than in any major U.S. metro except Tucson, Ariz. Even those in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Boise, Idaho; and Tallahassee make more. A registered nurse here makes $32.74 per hour. That’s less than in Atlanta, Dallas or Denver. And while South Florida is famous for its high-profile law firms, the median hourly salary for a local lawyer is about $57 — less than in Philadelphia, Sacramento or Chicago. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Medical marijuana company wants more storefronts in Florida
Alpha Foliage filed a petition last week with the state Office of Medical Marijuana Use seeking to increase its number of storefronts. The company, which operates as Surterra, is asking the state to exempt its 13 original “medical marijuana treatment centers” from a statutory cap that limits the number of storefronts to 35.

› Publix rolling out mobile pay system
Publix Super Markets Inc. is rolling out a new mobile pay system through its smartphone app. “By integrating a mobile pay solution within the Publix app, we can offer a way for our customers to plan, shop, save and pay with ease,” Publix spokesman Brian West said.

› Citrix hack exposed employees to ID theft and fraud, lawsuit says
A massive data breach at Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems, provider of cloud-based business solutions, exposed personal information of thousands of current and former employees to theft by international hackers earlier this year.

› Developer proposes partnership on Miami’s Olympia Theater
A developer is proposing a public-private partnership with the City of Miami for one of the city’s most valuable gems: Olympia Theater. Details of the proposal haven’t been formally released, but the idea is expected to be a discussion item for city commissioners when they next meet June 13.

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